Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane: At Carnegie Hall

The Songs:

  1. Monk’s Mood
  2. Evidence
  3. Crepuscule With Nellie
  4. Nutty
  5. Epistrophy
  6. Bye-Ya
  7. Sweet And Lovely
  8. Blue Monk
  9. Epistrophy (Incomplete)

Personnel:

  • Thelonious Monk – piano
  • John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
  • Ahmed Abdul-Malik – bass
  • Shadow Wilson – drums

In 2005, a “Holy Grail” of classic jazz was unearthed in the archives of the Library of Congress – the master tapes of this previously unreleased recording. On November 29, 1957, a concert was held at Carnegie Hall to benefit a community center in Harlem. The concert included performances by Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, Zoot Sims, and the Thelonious Monk Quartet, featuring John Coltrane. The Voice of America recorded most of the two sets that Monk played.

In the spring of 1957, John Coltrane left Miles Davis, due to his heroin addiction, which he recovered from a few months later. Before returning to the Davis Quintet, Coltrane spent the fall of that year performing with Thelonious Monk. Only a handful of recordings documented his stay with Monk, so the discovery of the tapes from this concert were a monumental find. This recording is by far the best of them, both in terms of performance and audio quality. With the exception of the old standard, “Sweet and Lovely,” the album features all Monk compositions. Tracks 1-5 are from the first set, with the remaining tracks, (including an incomplete version of”Epistrophy”) coming from the group’s second set. Monk and Trane are both in excellent form and upon the album’s release almost 60 years after its recording, it was quickly established as an all-time classic. It was heralded throughout the media and became the #1 selling album at Amazon.com. (Buy it here.)

Suggested Reading:

Robin Kelly. Thelonious Monk: The Life And Times Of An American Original.

Suggested Viewing:

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser

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