The Unique Thelonious Monk (Gatefold)
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Monk’s first major record contract was with Riverside, though at that time the company was just a small independent label that paled in comparison to the magnitude of Columbia, which would be his next step to success. The pianist’s obscurity at the time, and his aura as a difficult musicians’ musician, led Riverside’s producer Orrin Keepnews to have Monk dedicate his two earliest LPs for the label to interpretations of songs by other composers: a homage to Duke Ellington and the LP presented here, The Unique Thelonious Monk, a set of well-known standards. The positive reception of these works by the public would result in Keepnews allowing Monk to record his own compositions. Backing Monk are such brilliant musicians as Oscar Pettiford on bass, and Art Blakey on drums.
Hackensack, New Jersey, March 17 & April 3, 1956.