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MONK SPECIAL OFFER - Save $6!

"Celebrating 75 Years Of His First Recordings" & "Live Five Spot 1958, Revisited"

MONK SPECIAL OFFER  - Save $6!:

Buy both Thelonius Monk albums on ezz-thetics by Hat Hut, Ltd — "Celebrating 75 Years Of His First Recordings" & "Live Five Spot 1958, Revisited" — for one special price and save $6!!
 

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UPC: 752156114123

Label: ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd
Catalog ID: ezz-thetics 1141
Squidco Product Code: 32769

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
The Thelonious Monk Sextet

Idrees Sulieman,trumpet; Danny Quebec West,alto saxophone; Billy Smith, tenor saxophone; Thelonious Monk, piano; Gene Ramey, bass; Art Blakey, drums at WOR Studios, NYC, October 15, 1947 recording the compositions 1 Thelonious & 9 Humph.

The Thelonious Monk Trio

Thelonious Monk, piano; Gene Ramey, bass; Art Blakey, drums at WOR Studios, NYC, October 24, 1947 recording the compositions 3 Well You Needn't, 4 Off Minor, 7 Ruby My Dear & 22 Introspection.

The Thelonious Monk Quintet

George Taitt, trumpet; Sahib Shihab, alto saxophone; Thelonious Monk, piano; Robert Paige, bass; Art Blakey, drums at WOR Studios, NYC, November 21, 1947 recording the compositions 2 'Round Midnight, 5 In Walked Bud, 12 Monk's Mood & 13 Who Knows.

The Thelonious Monk Quartet

Milt Jackson, vibes; Thelonious Monk, piano; John Simmons, bass; Shadow Wilson, drums at Apex Studios, NYC, July 2, 1948 recording the compositions 6 Epistrophy, 8 Evidence, 10 Misterioso & 11 I Mean You.

The Thelonious Monk Quintet

Sahib Shihab, alto saxophone on *; Milt Jackson, vibes on *; Thelonious Monk, piano; Al McKibbon, bass; Art Blakey, drums at WOR Studios, NYC, July 23, 1951 recording the compositions 14 Four In One*, 15 Straight No Chaser*, 16 Criss-Cross*, 17 Eronel*, & 18 Ask Me Now.

The Thelonious Monk Sextet

Kenny Dorham, trumpet; Lou Donaldson, alto saxophone; Lucky Thompson, tenor saxophone; Thelonious Monk, piano; Nelson Boyd, bass; Max Roach, drums at WOR Studios, NYC, May 30, 1952 recording the compositions 19 Skippy, 20 Let's Cool One, 21Hornin'In &23Sixteen.


Personnel:

Thelonious Monk-piano

Idrees Sulieman-trumpet

Danny Quebec West-alto saxophone

Billy Smith-tenor saxophone

Gene Ramey-bass

Art Blakey-drums

George Taitt-trumpet

Sahib Shihab-alto saxophone

Robert Paige-bass

Milt Jackson-vibes

John Simmons-bass

Shadow Wilson-drums

Al McKibbon-bass

Kenny Dorham-trumpet

Lou Donaldson-alto saxophone

Lucky Thompson-tenor saxophone

Nelson Boyd-bass

Max Roach-drums



Johnny Griffin-tenor saxophone

Thelonious Monk-piano

Ahmed Abdul-Malik-double bass

Roy Haynes-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"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)
1/25/2023

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"Arthur Blakey (October 11, 1919 - October 16, 1990) was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. He was also known as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina after he converted to Islam for a short time in the late 1940s.

Blakey made a name for himself in the 1940s in the big bands of Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine. He then worked with bebop musicians Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. In the mid-1950s, Horace Silver and Blakey formed the Jazz Messengers, a group that the drummer was associated with for the next 35 years. The group was formed as a collective of contemporaries, but over the years the band became known as an incubator for young talent, including Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, Johnny Griffin, Curtis Fuller, Chuck Mangione, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Cedar Walton, Woody Shaw, Terence Blanchard, and Wynton Marsalis. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz calls the Jazz Messengers "the archetypal hard bop group of the late 50s".

Blakey was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame (in 1981). Posthumously, he was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 1998 and 2001). He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Blakey)
1/25/2023

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"Sahib Shihab (born Edmund Gregory; June 23, 1925 - October 24, 1989) was an American jazz and hard bop saxophonist (baritone, alto, and soprano) and flautist. He variously worked with Luther Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Fletcher Henderson, Tadd Dameron, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, John Coltrane and Quincy Jones among others.

He was born in Savannah, Georgia, United States. Edmund Gregory first played alto saxophone professionally for Luther Henderson aged 13, and studied at the Boston Conservatory, and to perform with trumpeter Roy Eldridge. He played lead alto with Fletcher Henderson in the mid-1940s.

He was one of the first jazz musicians to convert to Islam and changed his name in 1947. He belonged to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam. - American jazz double bassist During the late 1940s, Shihab played with Thelonious Monk, and on July 23, 1951 he recorded with Monk (later issued on the album Genius of Modern Music: Volume 2). During this period, he also appeared on recordings by Art Blakey, Kenny Dorham and Benny Golson. The invitation to play with Dizzy Gillespie's big band in the early 1950s was of particular significance, as it marked Shihab's switch to baritone.

On August 12, 1958, Shihab was one of the musicians photographed by Art Kane in his photograph known as "A Great Day in Harlem". In 1959, he toured Europe with Quincy Jones, after becoming disillusioned with racial politics in United States and ultimately settled in Scandinavia, first in Stockholm, Sweden and from 1964 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He worked for Copenhagen Polytechnic and wrote scores for television, cinema and theatre. He wrote a ballet based on the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, The Red Shoes.

In Denmark, Shihab performed with local musicians such as the bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen amongst others. Together with pianist Kenny Drew, he ran a publishing firm and record company.

In 1961, he joined the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band and remained a member of the band for the 12 years it existed. He married a Danish woman and raised a family in Europe.

In the Eurovision Song Contest 1966, Shihab accompanied Lill Lindfors and Svante Thuresson on stage for the Swedish entry "Nygammal Vals".

In 1973, Shihab returned to the United States for a three-year hiatus, working as a session musician for rock and pop artists and undertaking work as a copyist for local musicians. He spent his remaining years between New York and Copenhagen and played in a partnership with Art Farmer. He also led his own jazz combo called Dues.

From 1986, Shihab was a visiting artist at Rutgers University.

Shihab died from liver cancer on October 24, 1989, in Nashville, Tennessee, United States, aged 64."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahib_Shihab)
1/25/2023

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"Milton Jackson (January 1, 1923 – October 9, 1999), nicknamed "Bags", was an American jazz vibraphonist, usually thought of as a bebop player, although he performed in several jazz idioms. He is especially remembered for his cool swinging solos as a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet and his penchant for collaborating with hard bop and post-bop players.

A very expressive player, Jackson differentiated himself from other vibraphonists in his attention to variations on harmonics and rhythm. He was particularly fond of the twelve-bar blues at slow tempos. He preferred to set his vibraphone's oscillator to a low 3.3 revolutions per second (as opposed to Lionel Hampton's speed of 10 revolutions per second) for a more subtle tremolo. On occasion, Jackson also sang and played piano.

ackson was born on January 1, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan, United States, the son of Manley Jackson and Lillie Beaty Jackson. Like many of his contemporaries, he was surrounded by music from an early age, particularly that of religious meetings: "Everyone wants to know where I got that funky style. Well, it came from church. The music I heard was open, relaxed, impromptu soul music" (quoted in Nat Hentoff's liner notes to Plenty, Plenty Soul). He started on guitar when he was seven, and then on piano at 11.

While attending Miller High School, he played drums in addition to timpani and violin and also sang in the choir. At 16, he sang professionally in a local touring gospel quartet called the Evangelist Singers. He took up the vibraphone at 16 after hearing Lionel Hampton play the instrument in Benny Goodman's band. Jackson was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie, who hired him for his sextet in 1945, then his larger ensembles. Jackson quickly acquired experience working with the most important figures in jazz of the era, including Woody Herman, Howard McGhee, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker.

In the Gillespie big band, Jackson fell into a pattern that led to the founding of the Modern Jazz Quartet: Gillespie maintained a former swing tradition of a small group within a big band, and his included Jackson, pianist John Lewis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Kenny Clarke (considered a pioneer of the ride cymbal timekeeping that became the signature for bop and most jazz to follow) while the brass and reeds took breaks. When they decided to become a working group in their own right, around 1950, the foursome was known at first as the Milt Jackson Quartet, becoming the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) in 1952. By that time Percy Heath had replaced Ray Brown.

Known at first for featuring Jackson's blues-heavy improvisations almost exclusively, in time the group came to split the difference between these and Lewis's more ambitious musical ideas. Lewis had become the group's musical director by 1955, the year Clarke departed in favour of Connie Kay, boiling the quartet down to a chamber jazz style, that highlighted the lyrical tension between Lewis's mannered, but roomy, compositions, and Jackson's unapologetic swing.[citation needed]

The MJQ had a long independent career of some two decades until disbanding in 1974, when Jackson split with Lewis. The group reformed in 1981, however, and continued until 1993, after which Jackson toured alone, performing in various small combos, although agreeing to periodic MJQ reunions. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, Jackson recorded for Norman Granz's Pablo Records, including Jackson, Johnson, Brown & Company (1983), featuring Jackson with J. J. Johnson on trombone, Ray Brown on bass, backed by Tom Ranier on piano, guitarist John Collins, and drummer Roy McCurdy.

In 1989, Jackson was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Berklee College of Music.

His composition "Bags' Groove" is a jazz standard ("Bags" was a nickname given to him by a bass player in Detroit. "Bags" referred to the bags under his eyes). He was featured on the NPR radio program Jazz Profiles. Some of his other signature compositions include "The Late, Late Blues" (for his album with Coltrane, Bags & Trane), "Bluesology" (an MJQ staple), and "Bags & Trane".[citation needed]

Jackson died of liver cancer in Manhattan, New York, at the age of 76. He was married to Sandra Whittington from 1959 until his death; the couple had a daughter."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milt_Jackson)
1/25/2023

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"Al McKibbon (January 1, 1919 - July 29, 2005) was an American jazz double bassist, known for his work in bop, hard bop, and Latin jazz.

In 1947, after working with Lucky Millinder, Tab Smith, J. C. Heard, and Coleman Hawkins, he replaced Ray Brown in Dizzy Gillespie's band, in which he played until 1950. In the 1950s he recorded with the Miles Davis nonet, Earl Hines, Count Basie, Johnny Hodges, Thelonious Monk, Mongo Santamaria, George Shearing, Cal Tjader, Herbie Nichols and Hawkins. McKibbon was credited with interesting Tjader in Latin music while he played in Shearing's group.

McKibbon has always been highly regarded (among other signs of this regard, he was the bassist for the Giants of Jazz), and continued to perform until 2004.

In 1999, the first album in his own name, Tumbao Para Los Congueros De Mi Vida, was released. McKibbon's second album, Black Orchid (Nine Yards Music), was released in 2004 and was recorded at Icon Recording Studios, Hollywood, California. The album was recorded and mixed by studio owner Andrew Troy and Assistant Engineer - Aaron Kaplay, 2nd Assistant Engineer - Pablo Solorzano. He also wrote the Afterword to Raul Fernandez' book, Latin Jazz, part of the Smithsonian Institution's series of exhibitions on jazz."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_McKibbon)
1/25/2023

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"McKinley Howard "Kenny" Dorham (August 30, 1924 - December 5, 1972) was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and composer. Dorham's talent is frequently lauded by critics and other musicians, but he never received the kind of attention or public recognition from the jazz establishment that many of his peers did. For this reason, writer Gary Giddins said that Dorham's name has become "virtually synonymous with underrated." Dorham composed the jazz standard "Blue Bossa", which first appeared on Joe Henderson's album Page One.

Dorham was one of the most active bebop trumpeters. He played in the big bands of Lionel Hampton, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, and Mercer Ellington and the quintet of Charlie Parker. He joined Parker's band in December 1948. He was a charter member of the original cooperative Jazz Messengers. He also recorded as a sideman with Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins, and he replaced Clifford Brown in the Max Roach Quintet after Brown's death in 1956. In addition to sideman work, Dorham led his own groups, including the Jazz Prophets (formed shortly after Art Blakey took over the Jazz Messengers name). The Jazz Prophets, featuring a young Bobby Timmons on piano, bassist Sam Jones, and tenorman J. R. Monterose, with guest Kenny Burrell on guitar, recorded a live album 'Round About Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia in 1956 for Blue Note.

In 1963 Dorham added the 26-year-old tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson to his group, which later recorded Una Mas (the group also featured a young Tony Williams). The friendship between the two musicians led to a number of other albums, such as Henderson's Page One, Our Thing and In 'n Out. Dorham recorded frequently throughout the 1960s for Blue Note and Prestige Records, as leader and as sideman for Henderson, Jackie McLean, Cedar Walton, Andrew Hill, Milt Jackson and others.

Dorham's later quartet consisted of some well-known jazz musicians: Tommy Flanagan (piano), Paul Chambers (double bass), and Art Taylor (drums). Their recording debut was Quiet Kenny for the Prestige Records' New Jazz label, an album which featured mostly ballads. An earlier quartet featuring Dorham as co-leader with alto saxophone player Ernie Henry had released an album together under the name "Kenny Dorham/Ernie Henry Quartet." They produced the album 2 Horns / 2 Rhythm for Riverside Records in 1957 with double bassist Eddie Mathias and drummer G.T. Hogan. In 1990 the album was re-released on CD under the name "Kenny Dorham Quartet featuring Ernie Henry."

During his final years Dorham suffered from kidney disease, from which he died on December 5, 1972, aged 48.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Kenny Dorham among hundreds of artists who recorded for record labels whose master recordings were reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Dorham)
1/25/2023

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"Lou Donaldson (born November 1, 1926) is an American retired jazz alto saxophonist. He is best known for his soulful, bluesy approach to playing the alto saxophone, although in his formative years he was, as many were of the bebop era, heavily influenced by Charlie Parker.

Donaldson was born in Badin, North Carolina, United States. He attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro in the early 1940s. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was trained at the Great Lakes bases in Chicago where he was introduced to bop music in the lively club scene.

At the war's conclusion, he returned to Greensboro, where he worked club dates with the Rhythm Vets, a combo composed of A and T students who had served in the U.S. Navy. The band recorded the soundtrack to a musical comedy featurette, Pitch a Boogie Woogie, in Greenville, North Carolina, in the summer of 1947. The movie had a limited run at black audience theatres in 1948 but its production company, Lord-Warner Pictures, folded and never made another film. Pitch a Boogie Woogie was restored by the American Film Institute in 1985 and re-premiered on the campus of East Carolina University in Greenville the following year. Donaldson and the surviving members of the Vets performed a reunion concert after the film's showing. In the documentary made on Pitch by UNC-TV, Boogie in Black and White, Donaldson and his musical cohorts recall the film's making—he originally believed that he had played clarinet on the soundtrack. A short piece of concert footage from a gig in Fayetteville, North Carolina, is included in the documentary.

Donaldson's first jazz recordings were with the Charlie Singleton Orchestra in 1950 and then with bop emissaries Milt Jackson and Thelonious Monk in 1952, and he participated in several small groups with other prominent jazz musicians such as trumpeter Blue Mitchell, pianist Horace Silver, and drummer Art Blakey.

In 1953, he also recorded sessions with the trumpet virtuoso Clifford Brown, and Philly Joe Jones. He was a member of Art Blakey's Quintet and appeared on some of their best regarded albums, including the two albums recorded at Birdland in February 1954 Night at Birdland.

He was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame on October 11, 2012. Also in 2012, he was named a NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 2018, he declared himself retired, having performed his final shows in 2017. On November 2, 2021, he made a public appearance at a 95th birthday tribute show at Dizzy’s Club."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Donaldson)
1/25/2023

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"Eli "Lucky" Thompson (June 16, 1924 – July 30, 2005) was an American jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist whose playing combined elements of swing and bebop. While John Coltrane usually receives the most credit for bringing the soprano saxophone out of obsolescence in the early 1960s, Thompson (along with Steve Lacy) embraced the instrument earlier than Coltrane.

Thompson was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and moved to Detroit, Michigan, during his childhood. Thompson had to raise his siblings after his mother died, and he practiced saxophone fingerings on a broom handle before acquiring his first instrument. He joined Erskine Hawkins' band in 1942 upon graduating from high school.

After playing with the swing orchestras of Lionel Hampton, Don Redman, Billy Eckstine (alongside Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker), Lucky Millinder, and Count Basie, he worked in rhythm and blues and then established a career in bebop and hard bop, working with Kenny Clarke, Miles Davis, Gillespie and Milt Jackson.

Ben Ratliff notes that Thompson "connected the swing era to the more cerebral and complex bebop style. His sophisticated, harmonically abstract approach to the tenor saxophone built off that of Don Byas and Coleman Hawkins; he played with beboppers, but resisted Charlie Parker's pervasive influence." He showed these capabilities as sideman on many albums recorded during the mid-1950s, such as Stan Kenton's Cuban Fire!, and those under his own name. He recorded with Parker (on two Los Angeles Dial Records sessions) and on Miles Davis's hard bop Walkin' session. Thompson recorded albums as leader for ABC Paramount and Prestige and as a sideman on records for Savoy Records with Jackson as leader.

Thompson was strongly critical of the music business, later describing promoters, music producers and record companies as "parasites" or "vultures". This, in part, led him to move to Paris, where he lived and made several recordings between 1957 and 1962. During this time, he began playing soprano saxophone.

Thompson returned to New York, then lived in Lausanne, Switzerland, from 1968 until 1970, and recorded several albums there including A Lucky Songbook in Europe. He taught at Dartmouth College in 1973 and 1974, then completely left the music business. [...]"

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Thompson)
1/25/2023

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"Maxwell Lemuel Roach (January 10, 1924 - August 16, 2007) was an American jazz drummer and composer. A pioneer of bebop, he worked in many other styles of music, and is generally considered one of the most important drummers in history. He worked with many famous jazz musicians, including Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington, Charles Mingus, Billy Eckstine, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, and Booker Little. He was inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1992.

Roach also co-led a pioneering quintet along with trumpeter Clifford Brown and the percussion ensemble M'Boom. He made numerous musical statements relating to the civil rights movement. [...]"

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Roach)
1/25/2023

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"John Arnold Griffin III (April 24, 1928 - July 25, 2008) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Nicknamed "the Little Giant" for his short stature and forceful playing, Griffin's career began in the mid-1940s and continued until the month of his death. A pioneering figure in hard bop, Griffin recorded prolifically as a bandleader in addition to stints with pianist Thelonious Monk, drummer Art Blakey, in partnership with fellow tenor Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and as a member of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band after he moved to Europe in the 1960s. In 1995, Griffin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.

Griffin studied music at DuSable High School in Chicago under Walter Dyett, starting out on clarinet before moving on to oboe and then alto saxophone. While still at high school at the age of 15, Griffin was playing with T-Bone Walker in a band led by Walker's brother.

Alto saxophone was still his instrument of choice when he joined Lionel Hampton's big band, three days after his high school graduation, but Hampton encouraged him to take up the tenor, playing alongside Arnett Cobb. He first appeared on a Los Angeles recording with Hampton's band in 1945 at the age of 17.

By mid-1947, Griffin and fellow Hampton band member Joe Morris, had formed a sextet made up of local musicians, including George Freeman, where he remained for the next two years. His playing can be heard on early rhythm and blues recordings for Atlantic Records. By 1951, Griffin was playing baritone saxophone in an R&B septet led by former bandmate Arnett Cobb.

After returning to Chicago from two years in the Army, Griffin began to establish a reputation as one of the premiere saxophonists in that city. Thelonious Monk enthusiastically encouraged Orrin Keepnews of the Riverside label to sign the young tenor, but before he could act Blue Note had signed Griffin.

He joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1957, and his recordings from that time include an album joining together the Messengers and Thelonious Monk. Griffin then succeeded John Coltrane as a member of Monk's Five Spot quartet; he can be heard on the albums Thelonious in Action and Misterioso.

Griffin's unique style, based on an astounding technique, included a vast canon of bebop language. He was known to quote generously from classical, opera and other musical forms. A prodigious player, he was often subjected to "cutting sessions" (a musical battle between two musicians) involving a legion of tenor players, both in his hometown Chicago with Hank Mobley and Gene Ammons, and on the road. Diminutive, he was distinctive as a fashionable dresser, a good businessman, and a well-liked bandleader to other musicians.Johnny Griffin backstage at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay, California, 1985

Griffin was leader on his first Blue Note album Introducing Johnny Griffin in 1956. Also featuring Wynton Kelly on piano, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums, the recording brought Griffin critical acclaim.

The album A Blowin' Session (1957) featured John Coltrane and Hank Mobley. He played with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers for a few months in 1957 and in the Thelonious Monk Sextet and Quartet (1958). During this period, he recorded a set with Clark Terry on Serenade to a Bus Seat, featuring the rhythm trio of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.

Griffin moved to France in 1963 and to the Netherlands in 1978. His relocation was the result of several factors, including income tax problems, a failing marriage and feeling "embittered by the critical acceptance of free jazz" in the United States, as journalist Ben Ratliff wrote. Apart from appearing regularly under his own name at jazz clubs such as London's Ronnie Scott's, Griffin became a "first choice" sax player for visiting US musicians touring the continent during the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1965, he recorded albums with Wes Montgomery. He briefly rejoined Monk's groups (an Octet and Nonet) in 1967. From 1967 to 1969, he was part of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band.

Griffin and Davis met up again in 1970 and recorded Tough Tenors Again 'n' Again, and again with the Dizzy Gillespie Big 7 at the Montreux Jazz Festival. In the late 1970s, Griffin recorded with Peter Herbolzheimer and His Big Band, which also included, among others, Nat Adderley, Derek Watkins, Art Farmer, Slide Hampton, Jiggs Whigham, Herb Geller, Wilton Gaynair, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Rita Reys, Jean "Toots" Thielemans, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Grady Tate, and Quincy Jones as arranger. He also recorded with the Nat Adderley Quintet in 1978, having previously recorded with Adderley in 1958.

In 1978, Griffin and Dexter Gordon returned to the U.S., and the two performed at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, before recording Live at Carnegie Hall.

Griffin's last concert was in Hyères, France on July 21, 2008. On July 25, 2008, he died of a heart attack at the age of 80 in Mauprévoir, near Availles-Limouzine, France."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Griffin)
1/25/2023

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"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)
1/25/2023

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"Ahmed Abdul-Malik (born Jonathan Tim, Jr.; January 30, 1927 - October 2, 1993) was an American jazz double bassist and oud player.

Abdul-Malik is remembered for integrating Middle Eastern and North African music styles in his jazz music. He was a bass player for Art Blakey, Earl Hines, Randy Weston, and Thelonious Monk, among others.

Abdul-Malik was most active as a jazz musician from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. He recorded half a dozen albums as leader, which have been described as containing a "refreshing" fusion of jazz with Arabic and African music. During this time he was also described as "a hard bop bassist of some distinction". As an oud player he did a tour of South America for the United States Department of State and performed at an African jazz festival in Morocco."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Abdul-Malik)
1/25/2023

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"Roy Owen Haynes (born March 13, 1925) is an American jazz drummer. He is among the most recorded drummers in jazz. In a career lasting over 75 years he has played swing, bebop, jazz fusion, avant-garde jazz and is considered the father of modern jazz drumming. "Snap Crackle" was a nickname given to him in the 1950s.

He has led bands such as the Hip Ensemble. His albums Fountain of Youth and Whereas were nominated for a Grammy Award. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1999. His son Graham Haynes is a cornetist; his son Craig Holiday Haynes and grandson Marcus Gilmore are both drummers. "

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Haynes)
1/25/2023

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track listing:


1. Thelonious 3:02

2. 'Round Midnight 3:13

3. Well You Needn't 2:59

4. Off Minor 3:03

5. In Walked Bud 2:58

6. Epistrophy 3:09

7. Ruby My Dear 3:10

8. Evidence 2:34

9. Humph 2:54

10. I Mean You 3:23

11. Misterioso 2:46

12. I Mean You 3:10

13. Who Knows 2:45

14. Four In One 3:30

15. Straight No Chaser 2:59

16. Criss-Cross 2:57

17. Eronel 3:06

18. Ask Me Now 3:16

19. Skippy 3:02

20. Let's Cool One 3:50

21. Hornin' In 3:14

22. Introspection 3:14

23. Sixteen 3:30
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

Two CD special offer: "Celebrating 75 Years Of His First Recordings" & "Live Five Spot 1958, Revisited"

"He has written a few attractive tunes, but his lack of technique and continuity prevents him from accomplishing much as a pianist."

The fatal flaw in Leonard Feather's 1949 assessment of Thelonious Monk (from the book Inside Bebop) was a then relatively common, albeit insidiously superficial and short-sighted, perspective: jazz as an interpretive, and not a fully integrated compositional, discipline. From this point-of-view, the improvisational skills of a jazz musician were seen as a way to exploit, and at best enhance, the familiar aspects of popular song form, while simultaneously displaying their digital virtuosity. At this point in time, the avatar of piano technique put to the use of flamboyant ornamentation was Art Tatum; other notable figures, like Earl Hines and Teddy Wilson, brought melodic ingenuity and elegance to their performances. Even the emerging Bud Powell could be rationalized as a boppish reconfiguration of Tatum's keyboard prowess.

But instrumentalists of even their stature did not compose the bulk of their repertoire. And those few pianists who had established an early reputation in jazz composition - primarily Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington (or, slightly later, a Tadd Dameron or George Russell) - were misunderstood to be players within a functional, if not intentionally crowd-pleasing, role. (We can argue Morton's exceptions to this description at some later date.) On his own, however, Monk devised a new theoretical basis for his compositional aesthetic, an unorthodox, deconstructed and reinvented pianistic approach that defined his music's unique rhythmic and melodic parameters. Simply put, by 1949 (and thereafter) his idiosyncratic piano technique and his radical compositions were cut from the same cloth, fully integrated as to form and function. The piano was the vehicle of expression for his compositional mindset, which explains his various surgical confrontations with "standards," which he was not interpreting but re-composing from the inside-out, and the resulting misconception of his "lack of technique and continuity."

The evidence is here, on this disc, which collects the twenty-three original pieces he recorded in the six studio sessions for Blue Note from 1947 to 1952. It's especially revealing that so many of these remarkably creative pieces - far from being the merely "attractive tunes" that Feather scarcely acknowledged - came to comprise the foundation of Monk's canon, revisited often throughout his performing career, suggesting that the composer selected them specifically to elaborate new variation upon variation, spontaneously, of their rhythmic and harmonic eccentricities, very much as J.S. Bach did two centuries earlier.

In fact, the majority of these compositions are probably better known in other, later, frequently live, versions than these first releases, which nevertheless allows us the opportunity to re-experience the jolting effect of their initial impulse. As Gunther Schuller has suggested, at their best they are no longer "tunes" but tone poems; drama and design are indivisible. Monk's complex, intrinsic sense of detail and construction take precedence over instrumental application. In the widely spread intervals and cascades throughout "Ruby My Dear" or the insistent chords and repeated notes of "Well You Needn't" the choices seem more ear-oriented than pianistically practical. Likewise, the asymmetrical patterns in "Straight, No Chaser," the circuitous line of "Criss Cross," and the absurdist melodic shape of "Four in One" are clearly outside of keyboard conventions, the product of pure imagination. It is precisely the unfamiliarity and seeming incongruity of Monk's technique that articulates the tension necessary to confirm the sublime. As the British philosopher Francis Bacon offered nearly four hundred years earlier, "There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in proportion."

There's something to be said about the unusual ensembles employed in these sessions as well. Names like Danny Quebec West, Billy Smith, and George Taitt may mean nothing to us today, and the reputations of Idrees Sulieman or Sahib Shihab may fade over time, but they provided Monk with a fascinating broader palette as he developed these pieces for recording than he was later accustomed to work with. Thus we have the strange horn voicings of "Thelonious" (followed by Monk's cubist phrasing and revealing stride episode), the tangy out-chorus of "Skippy," and the almost claustrophobically dissonant harmonies of "Hornin' In" and "Sixteen" - arrangements not to be repeated, and which induce some regret that Monk limited his working group to a single saxophonist over the years. (On that point, Misha Mengelberg loved to pronounce Lucky Thompson as the most compatible saxophonist that Monk ever had, however briefly.)

Truly creative artists have greater insight into the process and necessity of their efforts than do we mere mortals, which may be why Gertrude Stein's statement (from Composition as Explanation, written in 1925-26), having nothing to do with Monk, may have everything to do with Monk; that is, "Everything is the same except composition and as the composition is different and always going to be different everything is not the same." "-Art Lange, Chicago, September 2022






"Monk is Monk, was and ever shall be, according to the recordings and films that have survived him, and secure our experience of his unique and consistent creativity. Nevertheless, as the context changes our perspective shifts, given the interactive qualities and individual contributions of the participants in any jazz ensemble. In this case, we have a one-time document, the only known recording of Monk working in a live performance with these particular musicians. How did it come to be, and what makes it special?

Over the years, it seems Monk chose the members of his working bands for reasons of comfort and contrast, familiarity and availability. If we pick up his story in 1957, Monk had been recording for Riverside for two years, his Blue Note and Prestige days behind him, and he had recently regained his cabaret card, necessary for performing in New York City clubs - although offers for appearances were at first few and far between. A fortunate long-term gig began in July 1957 at the Five Spot, which had initially opened as a small neighborhood hangout for artists and writers, but by this time had presented Cecil Taylor (unknown and just beginning his career), the equally youthful pianist Randy Weston, and Charles Mingus' Jazz Workshop. Monk's quartet consisted of the still-impressionable John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, bassist Wilbur Ware, and drummer Shadow Wilson. Ware was Monk's first-call bassist, but when he failed to show one night, he was replaced by Ahmed Abdul-Malik.

Ahmed Abdul-Malik was a converted Muslim and Brooklyn native who had previously played with Randy Weston, and shared with him an interest in North African and Arabic music and culture; he learned to play violin, cello, and oud, and later in 1958 recorded the first of two albums that brilliantly combined jazz with African and Middle Eastern sources. He was still a part of Monk's band when it was re-hired at the Five Spot in June 1958. This time, Monk chose Roy Haynes to play drums. Haynes, then 33 years old, was already established as one of the most dynamic drummers of his generation, having worked with Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Stan Getz, and Sonny Rollins prior to this. With both of his preferred saxophonists, Rollins and Coltrane, unavailable, Monk turned to Johnny Griffin, who proved to be the group's wild card.

Griffin was no novice. Starting out in the rhythm-and-blues-fueled bands of Lionel Hampton, Joe Morris and Wynonie Harris, Griffin released his debut discs for Blue Note and Argo in 1956 - the latter with Wilbur Ware on bass, who was to use Griffin on his own exciting album, The Chicago Sound, for Riverside the next year. 1957 found Griffin in demand and among fast company; he recorded his second quartet album for Blue Note and was the nominal leader of A Blowing Session, a combustible three-tenor excursion with Coltrane and Hank Mobley; and joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, as part of no less than seven recording sessions that year - most notably one for Atlantic that featured guest artist Thelonious Monk.

Monk's familiarity with and appreciation of Griffin playing his compositions so well on the Atlantic date no doubt led to his being called for an ill-fated studio session nine months later, in February 1958, which Monk cancelled after the band struggled with a single tune, the newly composed "Coming on the Hudson" - and then again in June, for the Five Spot residency. (These experiences left a permanent mark on Griffin, as he frequently dropped Monk tunes into his repertoire for the rest of his career; recorded an entire Monk program (Lookin' at Monk for the Jazzland label) in 1961 during his popular partnership with fellow rambunctious tenorman Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis; and reunited with Monk for a series of European concerts in 1967.)

Griffin came to Monk with a reputation as a speed demon - double-timing the tempo was his default mechanism, elaborating melodies with a mixture of mellow swing and complex bop phrasing, and impishly inserting song quotes a la Rollins and Dexter Gordon. "Rhythm-a-ning" here becomes a quote-fest: "Love in Bloom," "Jumpin' with Symphony Sid," "Fascinatin' Rhythm," "Swingin' on a Star," and Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" are tossed into the fray, colliding with Monk's wry solo construction on his opening theme and repeated descending lines. Their contrasting nature - Griffin's fluid extravagance and Monk's percussive dissections - intensified by Haynes' forceful divisions of the beat, generate a tension unlike any of Monk's subsequent groups. "Let's Cool One" is a case in point; Griffin concocts a shrewd solo that pushes the unassuming melody to extremes, and the entire rhythm section drops out, allowing the tenor saxist to hover, freely, out in empty space.

Alas, the summer ended and Griffin left the band, citing financial woes. He was replaced, briefly, first by Coltrane, then Rollins, until October 1958 when Sonny suggested a new replacement, Charlie Rouse, and the next chapter in the Monk saga was written."-Art Lange, Chicago, October 2022

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Hill, Andrew
Point Of Departure To Compulsion!!!!!
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Monk, Thelonious
Celebrating 75 Years Of His First Recordings
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Hampton, Lionel Orchestra 1958
The Mess Is Here, Revisited
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Davis, Miles Quintet (w/ Coltrane / Kelly / Chambers / Cobb)
Live Europe 1960, Revisited
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Taylor, Cecil (w/ Lyons / Dixon / Grimes / Silva / Cyrille)
With (Exit) To Student Studies, Revisited
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Stockholm 1967 & 1969 Revisited
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Cherry, Don
Where Is Brooklyn? & Eternal Rhythm Revisited
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Sun Ra Arkestra
Nothing is ... Completed & Revisited
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Copenhagen 1963, Revisited
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Harriott, Joe Quintet
Free Form & Abstract Revisited [2 CDs]
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Coltrane, John Quartet
Newport, New York, Alabama, 1963, Revisited
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Parker, Charlie
Be Bop Live [2 CDs]
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Parker, Charlie
Selections From The SAVOY Recordings
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Parker, Charlie
Selections From The DIAL Recordings
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