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  Наименование CD :
   The Complete Prestige Recordings



Год издания : 2000

Компания звукозаписи : Presige

Музыкальный стиль : Bop

Время звучания : 3:06:53

К-во CD : 3

Код CD : 3PRCD-4428-2

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Jazz (Piano - Bop)      

20bit K2 super coding

Retro-records with sound artefact

Recorded in New York City :

Tracks 1-1 to 1-4 on October 19, 1944

Tracks 1-5 to 1-8 on October 15, 1952

Tracks 1-9 to 1-12 on December 18, 1952

Tracks 1-13 to 1-16 on November 13, 1953

Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey :

Tracks 2-1 to 2-4 on May 11, 1954

Tracks 2-5 to 2-8 on September 22, 1954

Tracks 2-9 to 2-11 on October 25, 1954

Tracks 3-1 to 3-6 on December 24, 1954

Tracks 1-1 to 1-4 taken from : Coleman Hawkins " Bean And The Boys " ( 1970 )

Tracks 1-5 to 1-12 taken from : Thelonious Monk Trio " S/T " ( 1956 )

Tracks 1-13 to 1-15 taken from : Thelonious Monk Quintet " Monk " ( 1954 )

Tracks 1-16 taken from : Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins " S/T " ( 1956 )

Tracks 2-1 to 2-4 taken from : Thelonious Monk Quintet " Monk " ( 1954 )

Tracks 2-5 & 2-7 taken from : Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins " S/T " ( 1956 )

Tracks 2-6 & 2-8 taken from : Thelonious Monk Trio " S/T " ( 1956 )

Tracks 2-9 & 2-10 taken from : Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins " S/T " ( 1956 )

Tracks 2-11 taken from : Sonny Rollins " Moving Out " ( 1956 )

Tracks 3-1 to 3-5 taken from : Miles Davis " Bags' Groove " ( 1957 )

Tracks 3-2 to 3-4 & 3-6 taken from : Miles Davis " Miles Davis And The Modern Jazz Giants " ( 1958 )

Thelonious Monk was only with Prestige from 1952-1954, which explains why Fantasy's The Complete Prestige Recordings contains only three CDs. But Monk's Prestige output is noteworthy and generally rewarding, if imperfect at times. Not everything on The Complete Prestige Recordings is essential, but for the serious Monk collector, its rewards are great. The set gets off to an interesting start with four 1944 recordings from a Coleman Hawkins session. The material originally came out on the small Joe Davis label, but these performances are historically important because they marked the first time Monk was recorded as a sideman, and the first time that Prestige founder Bob Weinstock was exposed to Monk. The set then fast forwards to Monk's Prestige period, when he led various trios and quintets and was employed as a sideman by Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis. All of disc three is devoted to 1954's historic Davis/Monk encounter; unfortunately, Davis and Monk's egos clashed, but that didn't prevent them from delivering memorable performances. The Complete Prestige Recordings isn't for casual listeners, but it has a lot more ups than downs, and is enthusiastically recommended to serious jazz collectors.

All Music Guide

========= from the cover ==========

Thelonious Monk's time with Prestige Records was brief; he made his first recordings for the label in October 1952 and his last ones in December 1954. His entire output for Prestige consisted of 25 tunes, one of them recorded at two different sessions; the last two times he entered a studio for the company, it was as a sideman. It's not altogether surprising, then, that Monk's Prestige sides tend to get short shrift in most analyses of his recorded work.

But those sides included the first recorded versions of some of Monk's most enduring compositions, as well as his first studio encounters with Sonny Rollins and his only studio encounter with Miles Davis. They also included a remarkable trio date that featured his first great unaccompanied solo on record (which is arguably the first great unaccompanied piano solo of the modern jazz era by anyone), in addition to introducing the world to his most famous blues and showcasing what just might have been his ideal rhythm section-a bass-drums combination with which, sad to say, he worked again only once.

In light of all the attention Monk has received over the past decade or so, a reappraisal of his Prestige years seems long overdue.

This box assembles, for the first time in one package, all of Monk's surviving work for the label. (This may not literally be everything Monk recorded for Prestige; it's theoretically possible that some alternate takes have been lost over the years. But given the label's tendency to capture everything in as few takes as possible-which is to say, more often than not, one-the odds are that this is in fact the sum total of Monk's Prestige oeuvre.) As a bonus, it also includes Monk's first recording session, on which he accompanied the great tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.

On the surface those four sides, made for the small Joe Davis label in 1944, may not seem to have much connection to Monk's Prestige recordings, other than the fact that like the entire Prestige catalog they are the property of Fantasy. But they do play a role in the story of Thelonious Monk and Prestige Records, because it was these recordings that introduced Bob Weinstock, the label's owner, to Monk's music.

"I heard the things he did with Coleman Hawkins," Weinstock told me in an interview. "I always loved Hawk, and that's where I first heard Monk. And he did impress me as being very different then, on those records."

Like many of the people who ran jazz record companies in the Forties and Fifties, Weinstock was a fan before he was a businessman. He was a teenage collector of swing and traditional-jazz records when he discovered these sides, but anyone who liked Coleman Hawkins was almost by definition receptive to advanced ideas.

Hawkins as much as any jazz musician transcended styles and eras. His willingness to hire a modernist like Monk-whose work here, especially his dazzling solo chorus on "Flyin' Hawk," is instantly identifiable and shows more than a hint of the harmonic adventurousness that would come to define his playing-was completely in character. Hawkins embraced Monk's approach to the piano at a time when many of his contemporaries viewed it with skepticism or even hostility; his stamp of approval provided many listeners, young Weinstock among them, with an introduction to the music of Monk and many other young practitioners of the new sound that came to be known as bebop.

In the late Forties Weinstock ran a record store in midtown Manhattan, not far from the Royal Roost, one of the first nightclubs to offer bebop a regular home. He began hanging out at the Roost, and he became entranced by the sounds he heard there. One of the musicians who occasionally worked at the club was Thelonious Monk; Weinstock was impressed both by the pianist's abstract ideas and by the surprisingly old-fashioned rhythmic conception underpinning them.

"I used to talk to Monk a lot about the old days and the old music," Weinstock said. "And it

impressed me that this man that they used to call the High Priest of Bebop knew a lot about the old music. . . . I used to accuse him of being a stride pianist."

It's not surprising that when he graduated from a seller to a maker of records in 1949, Weinstock would want Monk on his label. After three somewhat rocky years, Prestige achieved solid financial footing in 1952 when vocalist King Pleasure's recording of "Moody's Mood for Love" became an unexpected hit. Suddenly finding himself with some spending money at his disposal, Weinstock began looking for musicians to record and, as he tells it, was delighted to learn that Monk was available.

Actually, whether Weinstock knew it or not, Monk had always been available. Although he had been recording exclusively for the Blue Note label since 1947, he was never under contract. Blue Note's Alfred Lion-another jazz fan turned businessman, and one of Weinstock's early role models-has recalled that as a rule he didn't put any musicians under contract, and Monk was technically always free to record elsewhere. But Lion had remained loyal to Monk, and Monk had remained equally loyal to the only record company that was willing to take a chance on him when he was a largely unknown quantity.

Exactly why Monk and Blue Note finally parted ways in 1952 is unclear. Lion himself once said that he stopped recording Monk because the pianist had run out of material: "We recorded everything he had. We recorded all his tunes. And from then on. . . he didn't have any more originals." But that explanation doesn't make sense. Even if he had run out of material, there was no reason to think that a gifted and prolific composer still in his early thirties wouldn't be capable of generating more, as indeed he did: his first two sessions for Prestige are full of striking new works. And the truth is that Blue Note didn't record "everything he had." Two of the compositions Monk would go on to record for Prestige, "Bye-Ya" and "Hackensack," definitely predated his Blue Note years, while a third, "Bemsha Swing," probably did as well. And there may have been others that were at least in his head, if not on paper, before or during his time with Blue Note.

A more likely explanation is simply that Prestige was in a position to offer Monk a greater degree of financial security than Blue Note either could or would. As much as he may have loved Monk and his music, Alfred Lion did not have the resources to continue going into the studio with someone whose records had not been selling. Bob Weinstock, who was reasonably confident that he could find a way to sell more Monk records than Blue Note had, was willing to guarantee the pianist a specific amount of money for a specific amount of sessions over a specific period of time. It was a difficult offer to refuse.

The promise of financial security was particularly important to Monk in 1952. A year earlier, he had been stripped of his cabaret card; the prospect of steady, guaranteed recording work surely appealed to him.

A lot has been written, not all of it entirely accurate, about what exactly it meant for Monk, or anyone else for that matter, to be without a cabaret card. Those odious documents, which were issued by the New York City Police Department from 1940 until they were abolished in the mid-Sixties, were a legal requisite for employment by any establishment in the city that sold alcohol. Obviously, not having a card was a serious hindrance to Monk's career. But it did not, as some writers have claimed, mean that Monk was not allowed to work in New York City. He could still work at venues where liquor was not sold, and according to many sources he often did work at dances and other one-night stands in Harlem, Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He also worked from time to time at various New York nightclubs, especially outside Manhattan-which he was able to do either because the engagements were brief enough to fall outside the strict definition of the cabaret-card rules, or because the venues were so remote and obscure that the police weren't apt to know or care that he was working there.

It has also been written that having limited employment opportunities in New York was more devastating to Monk than it would have been to most other musicians, because he was reluctant (some sources say he outright refused) to work outside the city. The evidence suggests otherwise: Monk did love New York, and he may not have been thrilled about traveling, but during the six years that he was without his card he accepted engagements in Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Chicago, and even, on one memorable occasion, Paris. Considering that he had a family to support (his son, Thelonious Jr., was born in December 1949; a daughter, Barbara, would be born in September 1953), Monk in 1952 was simply not in a position to refuse work.

The problem was not just that Monk was legally barred from New York nightclub jobs; it was also that the offers were not pouring in from anywhere. His music, with its dissonances and its herky-jerky syncopations, was widely viewed as far-out even by bebop standards, and he himself was widely viewed as an unreliable eccentric who might or might not show up for a gig. "Thelonious had trouble getting work even before he lost the card," Monk's wife, Nellie, once told an interviewer. "Therefore, it wasn't a sudden total calamity." But it was bad news nonetheless, and the bottom line is that Monk was not making enough to pay the bills when Prestige's offer came along.

Once the offer was made, the response was swift. Monk signed with Prestige on August 21, 1952, three months after recording his last sides for Blue Note. The American Federation of Musicians approved the contract on September 11. Thirty-four days later, Thelonious Monk's short but memorable tenure as a Prestige recording artist began.

Things got off to an auspicious start.

Most of Monk's Blue Note sessions had been with quintets or sextets, but his first two for Prestige were trio affairs, placing his piano solidly in the spotlight. The bassist on both was Gary Mapp, whose sole claim to a place in jazz history is his presence on these tracks; it seems safe to assume that he got the job less because of his ability, which was adequate, than because he was a friend of Monk's and he was available. (Mapp wasn't even a full-time musician; ironically enough, considering Monk's cabaret-card situation, he was a New York City police officer who moonlighted as a jazz bassist.) The drum chair, on the other hand, was occupied by two acknowledged masters: Art Blakey on the first session, Max Roach on the second.

No drummer was ever more in tune than Art Blakey with the jagged contours and buoyant drive of Monk's music. He had been on the very first session Monk led, in 1947, and although they seldom worked together after they both became active as bandleaders in the late Fifties, he was also on the very last, in 1971. Whenever they got together, sparks flew. Blakey participated in three of the five sessions Monk made under his own name for Prestige, and the value of his contributions to all three is immeasurable.

"All I know is, it just worked," Blakey told me when I asked about his uncanny rapport with Monk. "Both of us played unorthodox, as they called it. ... We didn't think there was no certain way you're supposed to do this or certain way you're supposed to do that."

A solid, swinging pulse was always at the heart of Monk's music, but what he put on top of that pulse could be dauntingly off-center. Blakey was always among the most forceful of drummers, but he was also a great listener; the secret of the two men's rapport was Blakey's ability to follow Monk wherever he went without losing the beat.

"He always played on the edge," Blakey said. "He never played one-two-three-four; it was always on the edge. . . . Listen to him and support him, that's what I tried to do."

And that's what he did on numbers like "Bye-Ya" and "Little Rootie Tootie" from Monk's first Prestige session, each one a challenge to his ingenuity as well as his stamina.

"Bye-Ya" is as close as Monk ever came to a straightforward Afro-Cuban groove, and Blakey's frantic accompaniment, which seemingly uses every surface of his drum kit, is appropriately polyrhythmic. (It isn't quite as polyrhythmic as it may at first sound, however: although no discographies mention it, close listening will reveal that someone is augmenting Blakey's drum part by pounding out a steady mambo beat on a table or some other surface.) "Bye-Ya," a fine example of Monk at his most joyous, was probably composed at least a decade before this first recording, but the title was brand-new: it was Bob Weinstock's attempt to phoneticize the way a Prestige employee named George Rivera shouted "Vaya!," Spanish for "Go!"

Blakey is an equally formidable presence on "Little Rootie Tootie," a number dedicated to Monk's young son, which begins and ends with some very playful exchanges between pianist and drummer. This recording is best remembered, though, for Monk's solo, a striking illustration of the critic Whitney Balliett's observation that "his improvisations were molten Monk compositions, and his compositions were frozen Monk improvisations." So ingenious and compelling is this spontaneously created melody that seven years later, when Monk appeared at New York's Town Hall with a ten-piece ensemble, arranger Hall Overton decided to include a note-for-note transcription of it on the program. It brought the house down.

Blakey was not the drummer for Monk's second Prestige session, two months later, but Max Roach was a most appropriate substitute. Roach has long been among the most melodic of drummers, and Monk is unquestionably one of the most percussive of pianists. The drummer's insistent, chattering cross-talk on "Bemsha Swing"-co-written, it should be noted, by yet another drummer, Denzil Best-represents an approach to Monk's music very different from Blakey's, but equally effective.

The music laid down at this session covered an impressive range. If the singsong melody of "Bemsha Swing" is simplicity itself, "Trinkle, Tinkle" is, like Monk's earlier "Four in One" and his later "Brilliant Corners," breath-takingly intricate. "Reflections" is a love song of sorts, but with a bittersweet and resigned quality that illustrates the difference between Monkian realism and Tin Pan Alley sentimentality. "These Foolish Things," of course, is Tin Pan Alley sentimentality, but like "Sweet and Lovely" from the previous session it is gently distorted by Monk into an altogether different creature, its melody left almost intact but seasoned with bursts of dissonance and other quietly sardonic commentary. The only drawback to these four otherwise exceptional tracks is the sad quality of the piano, which is noticeably out of tune throughout.

The question of who, what, or where Bemsha is remains elusive, but the names of the other two originals recorded at this session are easier to explain. Ira Gitler, who supervised the date, came up with the name "Reflections," and he is convinced, in hindsight, that he accidentally named "Trinkle, Tinkle" as well. The title seems ideal for this giddily convoluted melody line- Wynton Marsalis, a dedicated Monk aficionado, has suggested that the piece "sounds like somebody trinklin' and tinklin' around on the piano"-but Gitler long ago came to the conclusion that it was not the name Monk originally had in mind.

Monk, Gitler explained, had a habit of barely opening his mouth when he talked, and when the producer asked the pianist the name of the tune he had just recorded, Monk mumbled an answer that he heard as "Trinkle, Tinkle,' like a star."

"I should have picked up on that, that he meant Twinkle, Twinkle,'" Gitler said many years after the fact. "But I kind of like Trinkle, Tinkle' better." So, apparently, did Monk, who accepted the name without comment and continued to use it thereafter.

Bob Weinstock has recalled that Monk's versions of "Sweet and Lovely" and "These Foolish Things," released as 78-RPM singles, generated a little bit of interest. They might not have sold in huge numbers, but they apparently sold well enough to encourage Weinstock to try something a little more ambitious for Monk's next two sessions. The results were mixed.

The session that yielded "Friday the 13th" marked the first time Monk recorded with the brilliant tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, whom he had known and encouraged since the mid-Forties. ("He sort of took me under his wing," Rollins, who began attending informal sessions at Monk's Manhattan apartment as a teenager, once told me. "I always felt that he liked me particularly out of all the guys.") The authority and fervor with which the 23-year-old Rollins tears into Monk's music, and the sensitivity with which Monk accompanies him, are highlights of this session, which did in fact take place on a Friday the 13th. But overall, things turned out to be as snakebit as the calendar suggested they would.

The problems began when trumpeter Ray Copeland, who had worked frequently with Monk and was supposed to be part of this quintet, had to cancel at the last minute and was replaced, not by another trumpet player, but by Julius Watkins, who played French horn-and who, interestingly, would later co-lead a group with tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, who in turn would go on to spend more than a decade with Monk. Watkins was a good musician, but on this occasion, hampered by both insufficient preparation and a less-than-ideal studio mix, he struggled to fit in.

The biggest problem, though, was that Monk and Rollins showed up roughly an hour late for the session, explaining that their cab had hit a police motorcycle, and Gitler, who was again the producer, had to scramble to make sure he had enough music to fill one side of an LP. (Prestige had only recently decided to switch its focus from 78s to the new format.) That's why "Friday the 13th," the last piece recorded that day, clocks in at more than ten minutes: not because Monk felt it merited that much time, but because Gitler, who urged the musicians to keep playing by holding up a hastily handwritten cardboard sign reading "More," knew that his allotted studio time was running out and wanted to have as much music in the can as possible.

Requiring the musicians to stretch out might have yielded better results if "Friday the 13th" had been a more interesting composition, but it was Monk's shortest (more a fragment than a full-fledged tune, it is only four measures long) and probably one of his least inspired; accounts differ as to its origin, but there's a good chance it was dashed off in the studio that day. Monk "wanted me to play those same chords over and over again," recalled Percy Heath, the bassist on this date, "and that was kind of boring." Despite some good playing from Rollins and Monk, it's kind of boring for the listener as well.

Another problem with this music is that the drummer this time was not Blakey or Roach but Willie Jones, a 24-year-old friend and occasional sideman of Monk's who had never made a record before. Jones tries his best to light a fire under the soloists, but his inexperience shows, and as a result the proceedings tend to plod. All the soloists try hard, and Monk's "Let's Call This" and "Think of One" (both of which got their titles from his inability to come up with titles) are memorable melodies, but overall this session was far from Monk's best.

His next Prestige session, produced by Weinstock six months later, found him again at the helm of a quintet, with considerably more impressive results. Ray Copeland was on board this time, playing with self-assurance and spirit. Blakey was back on drums, giving a propulsive lift to the proceedings. And Monk's choice of saxophonist was both a surprise and a revelation.

Frank Foster had only recently joined the Count Basie orchestra, and would prove to be an invaluable member of that organization for many years as a musician and an arranger-and eventually, after Basie's death, as the leader. But in 1954, he was just a 25-year-old tenor player from Ohio who had yet to make his mark, and who found himself a little intimidated to be recording with Thelonious Monk.

"I can't remember how I ended up on the session," Foster said recently. "I was just very happy to be there, because I had been an admirer of Monk's for quite a while. Probably Ray Copeland recommended me; that's the only way I can assume that I got there."

Foster would never work with Monk again, but he says Monk later tried to hire him for his quartet. By that time, Foster recalled, he was firmly committed to Basie and turned the offer down. (He didn't remember exactly when this was, but it was almost certainly in the summer or fall of 1958, when Monk was working at the Five Spot in New York and found himself temporarily without a saxophonist before settling on Charlie Rouse.)

Foster obviously made a strong impression, and no wonder: he plays wonderfully here, with a robust sound similar to Rollins's and a legato attack entirely his own. His high-intensity solos on "Locomotive" and "We See"-the first title is self-explanatory, the second the result of Monk's answering "We'll see" when asked what he was going to call the tune-are one reason these sides project such high spirits. ("I can remember no other recording session in life before or since that went down so smoothly," Foster has said.) "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" is yet another lovingly skewed reinterpretation of an old standard, this time cleverly scored for quintet. "Hackensack"-a variation on the chord structure of Gershwin's "Oh Lady, Be Good" that is almost identical to "Rifftide," a piece for which Coleman Hawkins took composer credit, but which may actually have been written by the protean pianist Mary Lou Williams-is essentially just an excuse for a jam session, but it brings out everyone's best playing of the date.

It was on "Hackensack" that Foster demonstrated his adaptability by playing, without complaint or hesitation, a melody line containing notes outside the normal range of his instrument. "He described what he wanted me to do, and I did it, because I just happened to have that part of the range under control," he recalled. "But a less experienced saxophonist would have panicked and just not have been able to do that. . . .What was really amusing was that Monk himself just took it in stride, as though [to say] 'Well, doesn't everyone?'"

Blakey was back that fall, as was the estimable Percy Heath, when Monk once again was backed by just bass and drums. This was certainly the best trio with which he ever recorded for Prestige; in terms of compatibility as well as ability, it was quite possibly the best trio he ever recorded with. (Monk would record with Heath twice more and work with Blakey on several other occasions, including two world tours with the all-star Giants of Jazz sextet in the early Seventies. But the Monk-Heath-Blakey team, which had the potential to develop into one of the outstanding rhythm sections in jazz, was together again only once, on a 1955 date led by alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce.) Helping make this an exceptional session was the rich, clear sound mix provided by Rudy Van Gelder, who had also engineered the previous session.

This is the date that introduced the world to "Blue Monk," which quickly became a staple of Monk's repertoire. It is also the date that introduced most of the world to Monk the solo pianist.

(He had recorded an entire LP of solo piano during a brief trip to Paris three months earlier-a valuable addition to his discography even if it was technically in violation of his Prestige contract-but it had not yet been released in the United States.)

In the booklet accompanying the 1999 boxed set The Prestige Records Story, Weinstock, who was again the producer, is quoted as recalling that he persuaded Monk to record "Blue Monk" by asking him "why he never played the blues," whereupon "he sat down and knocked it right out." It is not literally true that Monk never played the blues; he had already written and recorded two stunning 12-bar blues compositions for Blue Note, "Straight, No Chaser" and "Misterioso." But strangely enough, it is true that except for "Blue Monk" on this date and Milt Jackson's "Bags' Groove" on the Miles Davis session three months later, he never recorded a blues for Prestige.

"Blue Monk" may well have been something he threw together on the spot: "Nutty," from the same session, definitely was, although the harmonically sophisticated "Work" almost certainly was not. And there is no question that the variations he proceeded to spin on this very simple blues line, each chorus a self-contained statement in itself, are an example of spontaneous composition at its best. As for where that melody line came from-well, maybe it came straight from Monk's head, but it's worth noting that the distinctive eight-note phrase on which it's based can be heard on a 1938 recording by bassist John Kirby's sextet, and it's possible that figure had already been around for a while even then.

The point, of course, is not whether or not Monk created "Blue Monk" out of whole cloth-compared to "Work" or "Trinkle, Tinkle" or even "Locomotive," it's hardly a complex piece of music-but rather what he was able to do with it. The results speak for themselves. (Speaking of spontaneity, fascinating evidence of Prestige's aversion to retakes-and of Monk and Blakey's flexibility-can be heard here in the last chorus of Heath's magnificent bass solo, on which he accidentally plays 13 measures rather than the customary 12. Not only did the tape keep rolling; Monk and Blakey kept playing, as if nothing was wrong. As Monk was known to observe, there are mistakes that sound like mistakes, and then there are mistakes that sound good.)

This version of "Just a Gigolo" set the pattern for the approach Monk would take to solo piano for the rest of his career. It is an approach in which silence speaks as loudly as notes; in which chords are approached with hesitation, as if Monk isn't quite sure where his hands might land; in which an ethereal arpeggio or an earthy stride bass line might show up at any time, without warning. And somehow, the overall effect is not just completely personal but also heartrendingly sweet.

"Blue Monk" was released as a 45-RPM single and, Weinstock recalls, got quite a bit of radio and jukebox play. Nonetheless, Prestige was not in a hurry to get Monk back into the studio, and the September 1954 session that yielded "Blue Monk" was the pianist's last for the label as a leader.

Monk did, however, return to the studio twice more before the year was out-once for a Sonny Rollins date that went smoothly and produced some pleasant if less than earthshaking music, and once with an ad hoc supergroup billed as Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants for a session that quickly became the stuff of jazz legend, as much for a fistfight that didn't happen as for the music that did.

Monk seldom recorded as a sideman, but by all indications he happily played a supporting role on Rollins's quartet session of October 25, 1954, providing sensitive and unobtrusive accompaniment just as he had done almost exactly a decade earlier when recording with Coleman Hawkins- who, by the way, Rollins has often referred to as "my idol." Rollins, in fact, is the only musician for

whom Monk ever recorded as a sideman twice: he would take part in another of his protege's sessions for Blue Note in 1957.

On three standard tunes, Monk graciously cedes center stage to Rollins-who, it must be said, plays so commandingly that it's likely even Monk couldn't have stolen the spotlight from him. The pianist's solos are brief and to the point, bearing his distinctive harmonic stamp but less astringent than his own interpretations of such material tended to be.

Two months later, Monk was part of an all-star session that had its genesis, according to Weinstock, in the fact that Christmas was approaching and a lot of musicians needed money. Miles Davis was the leader, but it's likely that Weinstock, who produced, had at least as much say as Davis did in choosing the personnel. It was a historic session by virtue of the fact that it would prove to be Monk's only studio collaboration with Davis, who like Sonny Rollins had once considered Monk a mentor but who had by now become a much bigger star. (The other musicians on the date were three-fourths of the Modern Jazz Quartet, all of them old friends of Monk's.) It turned out to be historic for other reasons too.

For many years the rumor persisted that Monk and Davis had actually, or nearly, come to blows that day; according to Ira Gitler, who was there as a spectator, the rumor had already started to make the rounds only hours after the session was over. More recently, revisionist historians have taken the position that nothing untoward happened. The truth, judging by the memories of people who were actually there, would seem to be somewhere in the middle. The tough but diminutive Davis clearly was not so foolhardy as to take a swing at the bearlike and muscular Monk, as he himself acknowledged in his autobiography, Miles: "If I had ever said anything about punching Monk out in front of his face-and I never did-then somebody should have just come and got me and taken me to the madhouse, because Monk could have just picked my little ass up and thrown me through a wall." (Monk himself put it this way: "Miles'd got killed if he hit me." But there was a certain amount of tension in the air, primarily related to Davis's unhappiness with Monk's accompaniment-and perhaps secondarily related to Monk's unhappiness at being asked to play second fiddle to a former disciple.

"There was never any fight," Percy Heath told me. "There was just this sort of little ego brush there that Monk misinterpreted the fact that Miles wanted to do a chorus without piano- This business about actual hostility and whatnot, that's a lot of garbage." Similarly, Weinstock, in the Prestige Story booklet, is quoted as saying: "Miles didn't want [Monk] to comp on one tune. There was no hostility, no fighting."

Heath and Weinstock are right that there was no fight, but they're wrong about the extent of Davis's dissatisfaction with Monk's playing. The recorded evidence is irrefutable: Monk laid out behind Davis not for one chorus, not for one tune, but for three of the four tunes recorded that day-everything but "Bemsha Swing," the one piece written by Monk. And although Monk later claimed that it was his idea not to play behind Davis, a more likely explanation can be found in Davis's own words, spoken to Nat Hentoff just a few years after the Modern Jazz Giants date: "I love the way Monk plays and writes, but I can't stand him behind me. He doesn't give you any support." (Not every soloist who worked with Monk agreed with that assessment, as witness the easygoing interplay between Monk and Milt Jackson during Jackson's solos, but Davis was after all the leader of this date.)

Clearly there was tension: it is actually audible in Monk's solo on the first take of "The Man I Love," when he attempts the tricky maneuver of cutting the tempo in half (after the bass and drums have doubled it) but then appears to lose his way, whereupon Davis puts his trumpet to his lips and plays a mocking wake-up call. But just as clearly, there is good playing by all hands-and, on the first take of "Bags' Groove," a solo by Monk that many consider one of his all-time best.

That solo is built around such simple melodic ideas-its long opening motif consists of just two notes, C and F-that at least one reviewer was moved to ask whether it was supposed to be a joke. On the other hand, the French critic Andre Hodeir has called the F-sharp with which Monk finally breaks out of that two-note groove "one of the purest moments of beauty in the history of jazz." And the pianist Ran Blake has praised the entire solo as an outstanding example of Monk's "stark economy and clarity of organization." Analysis aside, this is a striking illustration of how much can be done with a deliberately limited arsenal of melodic elements-and proof that as 1954 drew to a close, Monk was playing with impressive imagination and strength.

What he was not doing, however, was selling records. This session marked the end of Monk's tenure with Prestige, even though his contract still had eight months to run and specified that he owed the label four more sides. What happened next is the stuff of jazz lore-and, in the case of this writer, family lore as well, since it was my father's record company, Riverside, that signed Monk to his next contract, in March 1955.

The story has been told many times: Riverside's Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer heard that Monk was unhappy at Prestige and Weinstock might be willing to let him out of his contract. It turned out that Monk was indeed unhappy, and that Weinstock was indeed willing to give him his release, as long as he returned $108.27 the company said he owed in unrecouped advances. Riverside lent Monk $125 with which to settle that debt and, in short order, signed him and began recording a series of albums that raised his profile and helped establish him as one of the most important figures in jazz. (In the process, for what it's worth, Monk became one of the very few musicians to record as a leader for Blue Note, Prestige, and Riverside- the three most important jazz labels of that era.)

From Prestige's point of view, Monk may have been an important artist but he wasn't selling enough records to make him a worthwhile investment. From Monk's point of view, he was an important artist and Prestige was not treating him with the respect he deserved. Their parting of the ways was, perhaps, inevitable.

"It's sort of like when a love affair breaks up," Weinstock told me. "Both parties know. They say 'See you later, baby.' He said he needed more money."

The affair may not have been a long one, and it may not have ended under the best of circumstances. But it sure was beautiful while it lasted.

- Peter Keepnews


  Соисполнители :

Coleman Hawkins (Tenor Saxophone)
Curly Russell (Bass)
Denzil Best (Drums)
Frank Foster (Tenor Saxophone)
Julius Watkins (French Horn)
Kenny Clarke (Drums)
Max Roach (Drums)
Miles Davis (Trumpet)
Percy Heath (Bass)
Ray Copeland (Trumpet)
Sonny Rollins (Tenor Saxophone)
Tommy Potter (Bass)
Willie Jones (Drums)


№ п/п

Наименование трека

Текст

Длительность

Комментарий
   1 01 Flyin' Hawk         0:02:51 Thomas
   1 02 Recollections         0:02:55 -"-
   1 03 Drifting On A Reed         0:03:06 -"-
   1 04 On The Bean         0:02:43 Hawkins, Thomas
   1 05 Bye-Ya         0:02:47 Monk
   1 06 Monk's Dream         0:03:07 -"-
   1 07 Sweet And Lovely         0:03:36 Arnheim, LeMare, Tobias
   1 08 Little Rootie Tootie         0:03:07 Monk
   1 09 Bemsha Swing         0:03:11 Best, Monk
   1 10 Reflections         0:02:49 Monk
   1 11 These Foolish Things     T       0:02:48 Link, Marvell, Strachey
   1 12 Trinkle, Tinkle         0:02:51 Monk
   1 13 Think Of One (Take 1)         0:05:40 -"-
   1 14 Let's Call This         0:05:07 -"-
   1 15 Think Of One (Take 2)         0:05:46 -"-
   1 16 Friday The 13th         0:10:36 -"-
   2 01 We See         0:05:17 -"-
   2 02 Locomotive         0:06:24 -"-
   2 03 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes     T       0:04:32 Harbach, Kern
   2 04 Hackensack         0:05:12 Monk
   2 05 Nutty         0:05:19 -"-
   2 06 Just A Gigolo         0:03:02 Brammer, Caesar, Casucci
   2 07 Work     T       0:05:19 Monk
   2 08 Blue Monk         0:07:39 -"-
   2 09 I Want To Be Happy         0:07:46 Caesar, Youmans
   2 10 The Way You Look Tonight     T       0:05:14 Fields, Kern
   2 11 More Than You Know     T       0:10:53 Eliscu, Rose, Youmans
   3 01 Bags' Groove (Take 1)         0:11:10 Jackson
   3 02 Bemsha Swing         0:09:33 Best, Monk
   3 03 The Man I Love (Take 1)         0:08:31 Gershwin, Gershwin
   3 04 Swing Spring         0:10:46 Davis
   3 05 Bags' Groove (Take 2)         0:09:19 Jackson
   3 06 The Man I Love (Take 2)         0:07:57 Gershwin, Gershwin

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 T   'щелкнуть' - переход к тексту композиции.

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