Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); Lou Donaldson, Sahib Shihab (alto, alto saxophone); Lucky Thompson (tenor, tenor saxophone); Idrees Sulieman, K. Dorham, George Taitt (trumpet); Gary Mapp, J. Simmons, Al McKibbon, Nelson Boyd (bass instrument); Admiral S. Clay Wilson, S. Wilson (drums); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Max Roach, Art Blakey (drums).
Though rooted in the blues and in the explorations of bebop, the compositions of Thelonious Monk are unique in the canon of jazz. Angular, witty, and governed by their own internal logic, Monk's tunes have the power to endlessly fascinate, surprise, and entertain. His lengthy discography deserves devoted attention, but newcomers will want to find a disc that serves as a broad introduction to the artist's distinctive music.
The Monk installment in the JAZZ BIOGRAPHY series is just such a disc. At 17 tracks, the set doesn't skimp on quantity or quality, including many of Monk's best-known tunes. Listeners will be treated to the breezy insouciance of "In Walked Bud," the smoky evocations of "Round Midnight," the manic jumps of "Well, You Needn't," and the infectious swing of "Straight, No Chaser," to name just four Monk classics. This is a great place for the curious to get turned on to one of jazz's great geniuses.