Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Study In Liner Notes: Thelonious Monk

"...Clearly, Monk had made the big time. Just as clearly, he had done it on his own terms, without the slightest hint of compromise. Monk's ascent from obscurity to celebrity was living proof of the wisdom of his philosophy, expressed in a famous 1959 interview with writer Grover Sales:

'I say, play your own way. Don't play what the public want – you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you (sic) doing – even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years...'

...this album is suffused with as much freshness and vitality as anything Monk ever recorded. Monk was too single-minded and too dedicated to allow negative circumstances to affect his music adversely – some of his most exhilarating recordings were made when his career was at a low ebb – but it's understandable that his playing on 'Monk's Dream' would reflect the dramatic upturn his career was taking. Monk was in a good mood when he laid down these sides, no doubt about it – and the sound of Thelonious Monk in a good mood is among the happiest sounds in all music."

— Peter Keepnews (excerpt from Liner Notes, 'Monk's Dream')

Monk turns 97 on Friday! We're celebrating all week, capped by pianist Eric Reed's (sold out) 2-night Monk Tribute starting Thursday, which also marks the return of the SFJAZZ Hotplate Series, every 2nd Thursday throughout the 2014-15 Season! Read Keepnews' full liner notes.

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