Plays Duke Ellington
American Jazz Classics
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Thelonious Monk’s first album for the Riverside label was Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington (Riverside RLP 12-201), a trio set on which the pianist interpreted songs by the one-and-only Duke. While the results were amazing and Monk imprinted a personal touch on all of these well-known songs, it was a kind of imposed project, for Riverside producers were afraid of the commercial success of letting Monk record his own music.
The live set, which contains Monk’s only existing version of “Satin Doll”, is closed by a twopiano blues feature dedicated to Ellington on which Monk is joined Joe Turner. Billy Strayhorn’s arrangement of “Monk’s Dream” and his homage to Thelonious, titled “Frère Monk”, both performed by Ellington’s orchestra, have been added as a bonus.