Though not as earthshaking as the recently rediscovered John Coltrane session (Both Directions at Once), this previously unreleased set also demands the attention of serious jazz fans, particularly audiophiles. The difference is that this is not a “lost” studio session but a concert recording by a quartet (with Charlie Rouse, tenor saxophone; John Orr, bass; Frankie Dunlop, drums) that left us over a dozen other live recordings. And when one includes quartet dates by Monk, Rouse, and a different rhythm tandem, that number more than doubles. So why should listeners who already have several other records by this group worry about this one? The main reason is that the sound quality here is terrific, and the balance between piano, bass, and drums is amazing. Many have felt that this was the perfect bass and drummer for Monk, but rarely has the interplay between them sounded so vivid. Yes, we have heard this group playing these tunes, but that does not mean there are no surprises—in fact there are plenty of them, on every track. If you are among those who really love Monk, you are bound to love Mønk.
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