June 17, 2024
Thelonious Monk
Monk In Paris
(Hyena – 2003)
by John Thompson

Ali, Louis, Dempsey. Mantel, Ruth, Bonds. Trump, Gates, Allen. Ellington, Armstrong, Davis. Monk.

These are the heavyweights, the hard hitters, the big boys. These are Legends. For now, let’s focus on Monk Live at the Olympia. This is some great stuff here folks! For starters, T.S. Monk Jr., who plans to release more previously unreleased materials in the future, released this disc on Thelonious Records. Second, the recording quality of this 1965 concert is excellent, and guess what? Of the 7 tunes, 5 are more that 5 minutes long. Third, the release contains TWO discs, the second being a bonus DVD. Prepare yourself for some glute-kicking Classic Jazz.

The music disc contains notable tracks worthy of mention: Rhythm-a-ning, Well You Needn’t, Body and Soul, I Mean You, April In Paris, Bright Mississippi, and Epistrophy. The Quartet contains members Monk (P), monster Tenor Saxman Charlie Rouse, Larry Gales (B), and Drummer Ben Riley. The DVD has the band showcasing 3 performances of “Lulu’s Back In Town, Blue Monk,” and “Round Midnight.”

Without going into much detail and personal likes-dislikes, this much will be said: “Monk in Paris”, with it’s extended song versions (especially the swinging tunes) will keep you on the edge of your seats and will heighten your musical awareness’. 5 stars.

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