Thelonious Monk: Monk in Tokyo

Album review
Thelonious Monk: Monk in Tokyo

Thelonious Monk

Monk in Tokyo

Label: Speakers Corner
Media: LP
Genre: Jazz
Ratings:



This fine recording was somewhat overlooked when it first appeared in 1973, and the same fate may await this reissue, given the fact that several other notable Monk-related releases are vying for attention during this centennial of his birth year. Monk’s quartet with Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone was formed in 1959 and endured until 1970. It was recorded more than any other group lead by Monk, and Rouse has been unfairly condemned since the beginning for the crime of not being John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, or Johnny Griffin (all heard in earlier Monk lineups). Rouse was a fine player in his own right, and his sound and phrasing were well suited to Monk’s music. Still, with dozens of live recordings by the quartet to choose from, why should listeners choose Monk in Tokyo? Rouse is in average form, but bassist Butch Warren and drummer Ben Riley swing like mad, the sound is excellent, and Monk himself sounds inspired—we hold him in such high regard as a composer we can forget what a great soloist he was. Add to all that beautiful 180-gram vinyl, and you can hardly go wrong. 

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Contributors:
  • primary artist, Thelonious Monk

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