Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone); John Ore (bass); Frankie Dunlop (drums).
Recorded live at Teatro Lirico, Milan, Italy on April 21, 1961. Originally released on Riverside (9443). Includes original liner notes by Bob Reisner.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1990, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone); Frankie Dunlop (drums).
Liner Note Author: Bob Reisner.
Recording information: Teatro Lirico, Milan, Italy (04/21/1961); Teatro Lirico, Milano, Italy (04/21/1961).
Recorded in 1961 during Monk's first European tour, this release features eight tracks of superior musicianship with a crack rhythm section of John Ore (bass) and Frankie Dunlop (drums); smooth, dextrous playing from tenor saxman Charlie Rouse (who would remain with Monk for the next ten years) and the man himself. Monk's playing, from "Jackie-ing" to "San Francisco Holiday" to his beautifully conversational solo showcase in "Body and Soul," is inventive, seductive and vertigo-inducing; making great leaps in melodic logic, unwinding phrasing and chord patterns until they kick, gleam and glimmer.
Whoever wrote the liner notes and called Monk's music, by way of compliment, "easy to understand," obviously wasn't thinking of the challenging, at-odds contrapuntal lines of "Epistrophy." He also wasn't trying to map Monk's chord clusters or keep up with the breakneck athleticism of "Rhythm-a-ning," where, over a driving, climbing bass line, Monk plays a circular, collage-style solo, interjecting the theme to "Underground." While Monk's music is certainly accessible, part of what makes it such a treasure is the complex intelligence with which it is composed.