Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); Lou Donaldson, Sahib Shihab, Danny Quebec West (alto saxophone); Lucky Thompson (tenor saxophone); George Taitt, Idrees Sulieman, Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Al McKibbon, John Simmons, Bob Paige, Gene Ramey (bass); Shadow Wilson, Max Roach, Art Blakey (drums).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Compilation producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at Apex & WOR Studios, New York, New York between 1947 and 1952.
Digitally remastered by Ron McMaster.
Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); Lou Donaldson, Sahib Shihab, Danny Quebec West (alto saxophone); Lucky Thompson (tenor saxophone); Idrees Sulieman, Kenny Dorham, George Taitt (trumpet); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Max Roach, Art Blakey, Shadow Wilson (drums).
Recording information: Apex Studios, New York, NY (10/15/1947-05/30/1952).
Photographer: William Gottlieb.
So many of the tunes that virtually define Thelonious Monk's career were recordings for Blue Note. "Ruby My Dear," "Well You Needn't," "In Walked Bud," "Straight No Chaser" and other classics are compositions Monk would continue to revisit and explore throughout his career. The nature of Monk's composing and the brevity of the takes (all were recorded for release on 78's; the longest cut clocks in at under three-and-a-half minutes in length) make it clear that these recording sessions were not only about blowing and technical prowess; Monk's experiments take hold in a short span of time. Monk's peers ran the bebop revolution, but where they were content to rewrite the melodic contours of jazz, Monk seemed determined to rethink every dimension of the small ensemble. In these recordings, Monk outlines his ideas on tape.