Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone); John Ore (bass); Frankie Dunlop (drums).
Recorded live at the Olympia, Paris, France on April 18, 1961. Originally released on Riverside (9491). Includes original liner notes by Bob Reisner.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
One of his last records for Riverside, this live recording from his European tour (cut in France in 1961) finds Monk and his quartet in fine fettle. The program offers originals interspersed with standards, such as "Body and Soul" and "Just A Gigolo," both of which Monk plays unaccompanied and with notable, quirky brilliance. The live tracks, which include original favorites "Well, You Needn't" and "Crespuscule With Nellie," focus not only on the stringent jump-cut melodies and spiralling lines of Monk, but also on his combo.
Saxophonist Charlie Rouse seems to be in particularly fine form in these recordings, branching out in his solos in "Well, You Needn't" and "Off Minor." Bassist John Ore also contributes a fine syncopated chord-strum solo in "Well, You Needn't." There seems to be a unique tension in the vigorous, uptempo playing from the whole band, which adds a kind of dynamism without distracting from the swing. Overall, MONK IN FRANCE is a strong disc: great performances of outstanding tunes heightened by the energy of a live concert.