Presenting a 1963 gig by the quartet of Steve Lacy (saxophone), Roswell Rudd (trombone), Dennis Charles (drums) and Henry Grimes (bass), playing piano-less interpretations of the music of Thelonious Monk; plus Lacy with the Monk Quintet live in Philadelphia, 1960.
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Catalog ID: 5016
Squidco Product Code: 14485
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve 3 panels
Tracks 1-7 recorded in NYC in March 1963 by Vashkar Nandi and Paul Haines. Tracks 8 and 9 recorded at Quaker City Jazz Festival in Philadelphia on August 27th, 1960.
Steve Lacy-soprano saxophone
Dennis Charles-drum set
Charlie Rouse-tenor saxophone
Roy Haynes-drum set
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1. Bye-Ya 9:00
2. Pannonica (Incomplete) 3:25
3. Monk´s Dream 7:18
4. Brilliant Corners 9:45
5. Monk´s Mood 8:09
6. Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are 10:24
7. Skippy 6:23
8. Evidence 6:30
9. Straight No Chaser 8:23
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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"A 1963 gig by the quartet of Steve Lacy (soprano saxophone), Roswell Rudd (trombone), Dennis Charles (drums) and, on most of this session, Henry Grimes (double bass) playing their original piano-less interpretations of the music of Thelonious Monk. The 1975 release of this material on Emanem 3316 (subsequently reissued on QED, hatART and hatOLOGY) was the first appearance of this important band on record, thanks to the foresight of Vashkar Nandy and Paul Haines who recorded them excellently.
This CD presents the music in the order of performance for the first time. Also included are the two extant examples of Lacy with the Thelonious Monk Quintet (with Charlie Rouse, John Ore & Roy Haynes) made at a 1960 festival in Philadelphia. (The recording of a third piece was truncated before Lacy's solo, so it has been omitted).These were recently issued on RLR with significantly inferior sound, quite a bit of skipping, and the wrong date - all of which have been corrected here."-Emanem
At The Squid's Ear!
• Show Bio for Steve Lacy
"Steve Lacy (July 23, 1934 - June 4, 2004), born Steven Norman Lackritz in New York City, was a jazz saxophonist and composer recognized as one of the important players of soprano saxophone. Coming to prominence in the 1950s as a progressive dixieland musician, Lacy went on to a long and prolific career. He worked extensively in experimental jazz and to a lesser extent in free improvisation, but Lacy's music was typically melodic and tightly-structured. Lacy also became a highly distinctive composer, with compositions often built out of little more than a single questioning phrase, repeated several times.
The music of Thelonious Monk became a permanent part of Lacy's repertoire after a stint in the pianist's band, with Monk's songs appearing on virtually every Lacy album and concert program; Lacy often partnered with trombonist Roswell Rudd in exploring Monk's work. Beyond Monk, Lacy performed the work of jazz composers such as Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington and Herbie Nichols; unlike many jazz musicians he rarely played standard popular or show tunes.
Lacy began his career at sixteen playing Dixieland music with much older musicians such as Henry "Red" Allen, Pee Wee Russell, George "Pops" Foster and Zutty Singleton and then with Kansas City jazz players like Buck Clayton, Dicky Wells, and Jimmy Rushing. He then became involved with the avant-garde, performing on Jazz Advance (1956), the debut album of Cecil Taylor,:55 and appearing with Taylor's groundbreaking quartet at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival; he also made a notable appearance on an early Gil Evans album. His most enduring relationship, however, was with the music of Thelonious Monk: he recorded the first album to feature only Monk compositions (Reflections, Prestige, 1958) and briefly played in Monk's band in 1960:241 and later on Monk's Big Band and Quartet in Concert album (Columbia, 1963).
Lacy's first visit to Europe came in 1965, with a visit to Copenhagen in the company of Kenny Drew; he went to Italy and formed a quartet with Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and the South African musicians Johnny Dyani and Louis Moholo (their visit to Buenos Aires is documented on The Forest and the Zoo, ESP, 1967). After a brief return to New York, he returned to Italy, then in 1970 moved to Paris, where he lived until the last two years of his life. He became a widely respected figure on the European jazz scene, though he remained less well known in the U.S.
The core of Lacy's activities from the 1970s to the 1990s was his sextet: his wife, singer/violinist Irene Aebi,:272 soprano/alto saxophonist Steve Potts, pianist Bobby Few, bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, and drummer Oliver Johnson (later John Betsch). Sometimes this group was scaled up to a large ensemble (e.g. Vespers, Soul Note, 1993, which added Ricky Ford on tenor sax and Tom Varner on French horn), sometimes pared down to a quartet, trio, or even a two-saxophone duo. He played duos with pianist Eric Watson. Lacy also, beginning in the 1970s, became a specialist in solo saxophone; he ranks with Sonny Rollins, Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, and Lol Coxhill in the development of this demanding form of improvisation.
Lacy was interested in all the arts: the visual arts and poetry in particular became important sources for him. Collaborating with painters and dancers in multimedia projects, he made musical settings of his favourite writers: Robert Creeley, Samuel Beckett, Tom Raworth, Taslima Nasrin, Herman Melville, Brion Gysin and other Beat writers, including settings for the Tao Te Ching and haiku poetry. As Creeley noted in the Poetry Project Newsletter, "There's no way simply to make clear how particular Steve Lacy was to poets or how much he can now teach them by fact of his own practice and example. No one was ever more generous or perceptive."
In 1992, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the "genius grant").
He also collaborated with a wide range of musicians, from traditional jazz to the avant-garde to contemporary classical music. Outside of his regular sextet, his most regular collaborator was pianist Mal Waldron,:244-245 with whom he recorded a number of duet albums (notably Sempre Amore, a collection of Ellington/Strayhorn material, Soul Note, 1987).
Lacy played his 'farewell concerts to Europe' in Belgium, in duo and solo, for a small but motivated public. This happened in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruge and Bergen. This recollection is published by Naked Music. In Ghent he played with the classical violinist Mikhail Bezverkhni, winner of Queen Elisabeth Concours. He returned to the United States in 2002, where he began teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. One of his last public performances was in front of 25,000 people at the close of a peace rally on Boston Common in March 2003, shortly before the US-led invasion of Iraq.
After Lacy was diagnosed with cancer in August 2003, he continued playing and teaching until weeks before his death on June 4, 2004 at the age of 69."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Lacy)
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• Show Bio for Roswell Rudd
"Roswell Hopkins Rudd, Jr. (born November 17, 1935) is an American jazz trombonist and composer.
Although skilled in a variety of genres of jazz (including Dixieland, which he performed while in college) and other genres of music, he is known primarily for his work in free and avant-garde jazz. Since 1962 Rudd has worked extensively with saxophonist Archie Shepp.
Rudd was born in Sharon, Connecticut. He attended the Hotchkiss School and graduated from Yale University, where he played with Eli's Chosen Six, a dixieland band of students that Rudd joined in the mid-'50s. The sextet played the boisterous trad jazz style of the day and recorded two albums, including one for Columbia Records. His collaborations with Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, John Tchicai, and Steve Lacy grew out of the lessons learned while playing rags and stomps for drunken college kids in Connecticut.
Rudd later taught ethnomusicology at Bard College and the University of Maine. On and off for a period of three decades, he assisted Alan Lomax with his world music song style (Cantometrics) and Global Jukebox projects.
In the 1960s, Rudd participated in free jazz recordings such as the New York Art Quartet; the soundtrack for the 1964 movie New York Eye and Ear Control; the album Communications by the Jazz Composer's Orchestra; and in collaborations with Don Cherry, Larry Coryell, Pharoah Sanders, and Gato Barbieri. Rudd has had lifelong friendships with saxophonists Archie Shepp and Steve Lacy and has performed and recorded the music of Thelonious Monk with Lacy.
Rudd and his producer and partner Verna Gillis went to Mali in 2000 and 2001. His album MALIcool (2001), a cross-cultural collaboration with kora player Toumani Diabaté and other Malian musicians, represented the first time the trombone had been featured in a recording of Malian traditional music.
In 2004, he brought his Trombone Shout Band to perform at the 4th Festival au Désert in Essakane, Tombouctou Region, Mali. In 2005, he extended his reach further, recording an album with the Mongolian Buryat Band, a traditional music group of musicians from Mongolia and Buryatia, entitled Blue Mongol.
Rudd conducts master classes and workshops both in the United States and around the world."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roswell_Rudd)
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• Show Bio for Thelonious Monk
"Thelonious Sphere Monk. October 10, 1917-February 17, 1982.
With the arrival Thelonious Sphere Monk, modern music-let alone modern culture--simply hasn't been the same. Recognized as one of the most inventive pianists of any musical genre, Monk achieved a startlingly original sound that even his most devoted followers have been unable to successfully imitate. His musical vision was both ahead of its time and deeply rooted in tradition, spanning the entire history of the music from the "stride" masters of James P. Johnson and Willie "the Lion" Smith to the tonal freedom and kinetics of the "avant garde." And he shares with Edward "Duke" Ellington the distinction of being one of the century's greatest American composers. At the same time, his commitment to originality in all aspects of life-in fashion, in his creative use of language and economy of words, in his biting humor, even in the way he danced away from the piano-has led fans and detractors alike to call him "eccentric," "mad" or even "taciturn." Consequently, Monk has become perhaps the most talked about and least understood artist in the history of jazz.
Born on October 10, 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Thelonious was only four when his mother and his two siblings, Marion and Thomas, moved to New York City. Unlike other Southern migrants who headed straight to Harlem, the Monks settled on West 63rd Street in the "San Juan Hill" neighborhood of Manhattan, near the Hudson River. His father, Thelonious, Sr., joined the family three years later, but health considerations forced him to return to North Carolina. During his stay, however, he often played the harmonica, 'Jew's harp," and piano-all of which probably influenced his son's unyielding musical interests. Young Monk turned out to be a musical prodigy in addition to a good student and a fine athlete. He studied the trumpet briefly but began exploring the piano at age nine. He was about nine when Marion's piano teacher took Thelonious on as a student. By his early teens, he was playing rent parties, sitting in on organ and piano at a local Baptist church, and was reputed to have won several "amateur hour" competitions at the Apollo Theater. ,Admitted to Peter Stuyvesant, one of the city's best high schools, Monk dropped out at the end of his sophomore year to pursue music and around 1935 took a job as a pianist for a traveling evangelist and faith healer. Returning after two years, he formed his own quartet and played local bars and small clubs until the spring of 1941, when drummer Kenny Clarke hired him as the house pianist at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem.
Minton's, legend has it, was where the "bebop revolution" began. The after-hours jam sessions at Minton's, along with similar musical gatherings at Monroe's Uptown House, Dan Wall's Chili Shack, among others, attracted a new generation of musicians brimming with fresh ideas about harmony and rhythm-notably Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Lou Williams, Kenny Clarke, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach, Tadd Dameron, and Monk's close friend and fellow pianist, Bud Powell. Monk's harmonic innovations proved fundamental to the development of modern jazz in this period. Anointed by some critics as the "High Priest of Bebop," several of his compositions ("52nd Street Theme," "Round Midnight," "Epistrophy" [co-written with Kenny Clarke and originally titled "Fly Right" and then "Iambic Pentameter"], "I Mean You") were favorites among his contemporaries.
Thelonious Monk StyleYet, as much as Monk helped usher in the bebop revolution, he also charted a new course for modern music few were willing to follow. Whereas most pianists of the bebop era played sparse chords in the left hand and emphasized fast, even eighth and sixteenth notes in the right hand, Monk combined an active right hand with an equally active left hand, fusing stride and angular rhythms that utilized the entire keyboard. And in an era when fast, dense, virtuosic solos were the order of the day, Monk was famous for his use of space and silence. In addition to his unique phrasing and economy of notes, Monk would "lay out" pretty regularly, enabling his sidemen to experiment free of the piano's fixed pitches. As a composer, Monk was less interested in writing new melodic lines over popular chord progressions than in creating a whole new architecture for his music, one in which harmony and rhythm melded seamlessly with the melody. "Everything I play is different," Monk once explained, "different melody, different harmony, different structure. Each piece is different from the other. . . . [W]hen the song tells a story, when it gets a certain sound, then it's through . . . completed." ,Despite his contribution to the early development of modern jazz, Monk remained fairly marginal during the 1940s and early 1950s. Besides occasional gigs with bands led by Kenny Clarke, Lucky Millinder, Kermit Scott, and Skippy Williams, in 1944 tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins was the first to hire Monk for a lengthy engagement and the first to record with him. Most critics and many musicians were initially hostile to Monk's sound. Blue Note, then a small record label, was the first to sign him to a contract. Thus, by the time he went into the studio to lead his first recording session in 1947, he was already thirty years old and a veteran of the jazz scene for nearly half of his life. But he knew the scene and during the initial two years with Blue Note had hired musicians whom he believed could deliver. Most were not big names at the time but they proved to be outstanding musicians, including trumpeters Idrees Sulieman and George Taitt; twenty-two year-old Sahib Shihab and seventeen-year-old Danny Quebec West on alto saxophones; Billy Smith on tenor; and bassists Gene Ramey and John Simmons. On some recordings Monk employed veteran Count Basie drummer Rossiere "Shadow" Wilson; on others, the drum seat was held by well-known bopper Art Blakey. His last Blue Note session as a leader in 1952 finds Monk surrounded by an all-star band, including Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Lou Donaldson (alto), "Lucky" Thompson (tenor), Nelson Boyd (bass), and Max Roach (drums). In the end, although all of Monk's Blue Note sides are hailed today as some of his greatest recordings, at the time of their release in the late 1940s and early 1950s, they proved to be a commercial failure.
Harsh, ill-informed criticism limited Monk's opportunities to work-opportunities he desperately needed especially after his marriage to Nellie Smith in 1947, and the birth of his son, Thelonious, Jr., in 1949. Monk found work where he could, but he never compromised his musical vision. His already precarious financial situation took a turn for the worse in August of 1951, when he was falsely arrested for narcotics possession, essentially taking the rap for his friend Bud Powell. Deprived of his cabaret card-a police-issued "license" without which jazz musicians could not perform in New York clubs-Monk was denied gigs in his home town for the next six years. Nevertheless, he played neighborhood clubs in Brooklyn-most notably, Tony's Club Grandean, sporadic concerts, took out-of-town gigs, composed new music, and made several trio and ensemble records under the Prestige Label (1952-1954), which included memorable performances with Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, and Milt Jackson. In the fall of1953, he celebrated the birth of his daughter Barbara, and the following summer he crossed the Atlantic for the first time to play the Paris Jazz Festival. During his stay, he recorded his first solo album for Vogue. These recordings would begin to establish Monk as one of the century's most imaginative solo pianists.
In 1955, Monk signed with a new label, Riverside, and recorded several outstanding LP's which garnered critical attention, notably Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington, The Unique Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners, Monk's Music and his second solo album, Thelonious Monk Alone. In 1957, with the help of his friend and sometime patron, the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, he had finally gotten his cabaret card restored and enjoyed a very long and successful engagement at the Five Spot Café with John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Wilbur Ware and then Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass, and Shadow Wilson on drums. From that point on, his career began to soar; his collaborations with Johnny Griffin, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan, and arranger Hall Overton, among others, were lauded by critics and studied by conservatory students. Monk even led a successful big band at Town Hall in 1959. It was as if jazz audiences had finally caught up to Monk's music.,
By 1961, Monk had established a more or less permanent quartet consisting of Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, John Ore (later Butch Warren and then Larry Gales) on bass, and Frankie Dunlop (later Ben Riley) on drums. He performed with his own big band at Lincoln Center (1963), and at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the quartet toured Europe in 1961 and Japan in 1963. In 1962, Monk had also signed with Columbia records, one of the biggest labels in the world, and in February of 1964 he became the third jazz musician in history to grace the cover of Time Magazine.
However, with fame came the media's growing fascination with Monk's alleged eccentricities. Stories of his behavior on and off the bandstand often overshadowed serious commentary about his music. The media helped invent the mythical Monk-the reclusive, naïve, idiot savant whose musical ideas were supposed to be entirely intuitive rather than the product of intensive study, knowledge and practice. Indeed, his reputation as a recluse (Time called him the "loneliest Monk") reveals just how much Monk had been misunderstood. As his former sideman, tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, explained, Monk was somewhat of a homebody: "If Monk isn't working he isn't on the scene. Monk stays home. He goes away and rests." Unlike the popular stereotypes of the jazz musician, Monk was devoted to his family. He appeared at family events, played birthday parties, and wrote playfully complex songs for his children: "Little Rootie Tootie" for his son, "Boo Boo's Birthday" and "Green Chimneys" for his daughter, and a Christmas song titled "A Merrier Christmas." The fact is, the Monk family held together despite long stretches without work, severe money shortages, sustained attacks by critics, grueling road trips, bouts with illness, and the loss of close friends.
During the 1960s, Monk scored notable successes with albums such as Criss Cross, Monk's Dream, It's Monk Time, Straight No Chaser, and Underground. But as Columbia/CBS records pursued a younger, rock-oriented audience, Monk and other jazz musicians ceased to be a priority for the label. Monk's final recording with Columbia was a big band session with Oliver Nelson's Orchestra in November of 1968, which turned out to be both an artistic and commercial failure. Columbia's disinterest and Monk's deteriorating health kept the pianist out of the studio. In January of 1970, Charlie Rouse left the band, and two years later Columbia quietly dropped Monk from its roster. For the next few years, Monk accepted fewer engagements and recorded even less. His quartet featured saxophonists Pat Patrick and Paul Jeffrey, and his son Thelonious, Jr., took over on drums in 1971. That same year through 1972, Monk toured widely with the "Giants of Jazz," a kind of bop revival group consisting of Dizzy Gillespie, Kai Winding, Sonny Stitt, Al McKibbon and Art Blakey, and made his final public appearance in July of 1976. Physical illness, fatigue, and perhaps sheer creative exhaustion convinced Monk to give up playing altogether. On February 5, 1982, he suffered a stroke and never regained consciousness; twelve days later, on February 17th, he died.
Today Thelonious Monk is widely accepted as a genuine master of American music. His compositions constitute the core of jazz repertory and are performed by artists from many different genres. He is the subject of award winning documentaries, biographies and scholarly studies, prime time television tributes, and he even has an Institute created in his name. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz was created to promote jazz education and to train and encourage new generations of musicians. It is a fitting tribute to an artist who was always willing to share his musical knowledge with others but expected originality in return."-Robin D. G. Kelley Ph.D.-Thelonius Monk Store Website (https://theloniousmonk.store/pages/bio)
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