## 1-7 Recorded at Olimpia, Saturday, March 7, 1965, Paris, France
## 8-9 Bonus - Recorded in Oslo, Norway, April 15, 1966
Joel Dorn's Hyena Records has been busy with partnerships. This one centers on the estate of Thelonious Monk. The label Thelonious Records was formed by Monk's son T.S. Monk and Peter Grain to open its vaults for the first time and issue unreleased live recordings that were both officially sanctioned and bootlegged. If this set, the second of a two- night engagement at Paris' famed Olympia Theater in 1965, is any indication of the quality and inspiration of these performances, Monk fans definitely have something to look forward to besides reissues. On this double-disc set - the concert on one CD and a DVD of Monk and his quartet performing in Oslo in 1966 (in fine black and white) - the band is Charlie Rouse, Ben Riley, and Larry Gales and from the jump on "Rhythm-A-Ning," they hit the gate blowing. Monk kicks it off, but it is Rouse who shines here, burning through the blues. Before fine solos by Gales and Riley round out the piece, the ensemble reenters to close it out. Monk has a pair of solo performances here, a gorgeous "Body & Soul" and "April in Paris," before the definitive work on the set, - and its hinge separating the two parts of the concert - "Well You Needn't" reveals the complete and nearly telepathic strength of the quartet. This piece, a complete blowout of intricate improvisation and rhythmic shifts and feints, is one of the greatest live recorded performances of this band ever. The show closes with "Bright Mississippi" and a moving reading of "Epistrophy," leaving listeners left in a kind of awe at the joyous, brilliant, and bright offering this band laid before a European audience nearly 40 years ago. If this recording is any evidence, the Monk catalog is about to expand with some real gems.
- Thom Jurek (All Music Guide)
========= from the cover ==========
T.S. Monk, Jr. and his brother-in-law Dr. Peter Grain created Thelonious Records as a vehicle for the release of the family's cache of unreleased material by Mr. Monk, Sr. Additionally, the label will draw on the boatload of bootlegs begging to be legitimized. Mr. Monk, Jr., a band leader and recording artist in his own right for the past 20 years, will also release his albums on the family's label. I'm excited and honored to be working with them in this endeavor.
The label's mission is to complement Monk's existing legitimate body of recordings, mainly on video fare that'll give his fans the world over a fuller and more complete picture of who and what he was.
One of the goals of Thelonious Records is to go beyond Monk the musician and shed light on Monk the man. To that end, I've asked Nat Hentoff to remember his friend and T.S. to reflect on his father. First, Nat... - JD
Stanley Dance, a British writer on jazz, who actually was part of the jazz scene in the United States, said of Thelonious Monk: "His music is full of personality, and it's of a piece...it's Monk all through...there are no pyrotechnics... no sycophantic debt to European culture. His work is rooted in jazz and has a good, clear sense of the jazz beat."
But who was Thelonious Monk, this man so full of personality? He is often referred to in jazz lore as exceedingly taciturn on and off the stand and rather impenetrable. That was not the Thelonious Monk I knew.
He could be abrupt. Sahib Shihab, a sideman on several of Monk's recordings, recalled in my book, The Jazz Life: "I had a part that was unbelievably difficult. I complained to Monk. His only answer was, You're a musician? You got a union card? Play it!'To my surprise, I eventually did."
Monk at home as well, could be very concisely to the point. One afternoon, at his home near what became Lincoln Center, I was in his small apartment where, as his wife and confidante, Nellie, said, the Steinway baby grand occupied "most the living room, part of the kitchen."
As we were talking, Gigi Gryce-an exceptionally talented saxophonist and arranger-composer-burst into the room. "Monk," he exclaimed! "I got in! I got in to Juilliard."
Monk absorbed the news in characteristic silence for a while, and then said to Gigi, "Well, I hope you don't lose it there."
Later, Monk spoke of the long wait he had to be recognized as a true original, both as a pianist and a composer, so that he could finally make some kind of living. For 20 years, he struggled to get enough gigs to keep going. "I worked all over town," he told me. "Non-union jobs; $20 a week, seven nights a week; and then the boss might fire you any time and you never got your money."
Recalling dance halls and bars all over New York, Monk said, "I've been on every kind of job you can think of. I really found out how to get around this city. There are a lot of things you can't remember- except the heckling."Monk never "lost it." He couldn't. It was his from the beginning. "I've learned from numerous pianists," he told me, "but I never had what you might call a major influence." What he did have all through the years was just as important to his future as his music-his wife, Nellie.
She was his chief adviser; she heard his music as it gave birth and grew; and she and their children gave him a foundation for his life.
"During the worst years," she told me, "we didn't feel the struggle as much as other people might have because we were very close. We felt each of us was doing the best he could, and we didn't suffer for the things we couldn't have. In fact, nobody talked about them. If it was a matter of clothes, for instance, I felt it more important that he have them since he's before the public. And he didn't get bitter. Anybody else with less strength would have snapped."
Nellie told me a story that I found of use in my own life, and have told others. "I used to have a phobia," she said, "about pictures or anything on a wall hanging just a little bit crooked. Thelonious cured me. He nailed a clock to the wall at a very slight angle, just enough to make me furious. We argued about it for two hours, but he wouldn't let me change it. Finally, I got used to it. Now anything can hang at any angle, and it doesn't bother me at all."
That reminded me of what John Coltrane once told me: "Everything fits so well in Monk's work, once you get to see the inside."
One night during Monk's legendary gig at The Five Spot in New York, Coltrane came off the stand at the end of a set looking utterly forlorn, as if someone close to him had just died. "What's the matter?" I asked. "I got lost in one of Monk's compositions," he said. "It felt like falling down an elevator shaft."
Monk once asked me to come along while he was being interviewed in a class on jazz at Columbia University. The lecturer, pompous and presumptuous, said to Monk: "Play some of your weird chords for the class." Monk, justly indignant, answered: "What do you mean weird? They're perfectly logical chords." He did not have patience for small or speculative talk. At his kitchen table, a musician began, "Well, everybody says..." Monk stopped him. "What do you say?"
My favorite Monk riposte was to Frank London Brown during an interview with Thelonious for Down Sea when Monk was asked about the future of jazz.
"I don't know where it's going," Monk said. "Maybe it's going to hell. You can't make anything go anywhere. It just happens."
But Monk knew what he had put into jazz. We were sitting in the living room of Baroness Nica de Koenigwswarter, who had married a Rothschild, but had no airs at all, and was a genuine friend of a number of jazz musicians, including Thelonious. Monk had been silent for quite a while as the Baroness, Nellie and I were discussing Ornette Coleman-newly nascent and very controversial among some jazz musicians and critics. As one of Coleman's records was playing, Monk finally said, "That's nothing new. I did it on this number." He began to search the albums, stacked* without envelopes, on the floor. "But I didn't do it all the way through. I did it just to get what I wanted in that one place."
Monk found the record, played it, and having soundly made his point, sat down again, adding: "I think he has a gang of potential though. But he's not all they say he is right now. After all," Monk stood up and said, like a professor of jazz. "What has he contributed?"
Ornette did fulfill his potential; and Thelonious, always secure in his knowledge of what he was contributing, had nothing more to say that night. His music said it all, and will last as long as there is music.
One more thing I especially remember. Monk once said in Down Beat. "When I was a kid, some of the guys would try to get me to hate white people for what they've been doing to Negroes. But every time I got to hating them, some white guy would come along and mess the whole thing up."