Way Out! + 1 Bonus Track - 180 Gram
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4 STARS PENGUIN GUIDE TO JAZZ
THELONIOUS MONK, piano
JOHNNY GRIFFIN, tenor sax
AHMED-ABDUL MALIK, bass
ROY HAYNES, drums
Live at the Five Spot, New York, August 7, 1958.
(*) Bonus track: From the same sessions, but not included on the original LP
01. LIGHT BLUE
02. COMING ON THE HUDSON
04. EPISTROPHY [Theme]
01. BLUE MONK
03. NUTTY (*)
04. EPISTROPHY [Theme]
This set comes from Thelonious Monk’s legendary 1958 Five Spot recordings with Johnny Griffin. According to producer Orrin Keepnews, Monk hadn’t been working a lot prior to these performances. This was due to the law that prohibited a musician convicted for drugs in New York to work in any of the city’s clubs for a specific duration of time. Monk, like Charlie Parker and many others, had been a victim of the system, and thus he was unable to play in New York for a time. However, while these may have been Monk’s first issued live recordings (taped live, but recorded with professional equipment), many other previous live recordings made under nonprofessional conditions have surfaced since.
The most important of them are, first, the 1941 jam sessions at Minton’s, which present a young Monk jamming with Roy Eldridge, Hot Lips Page, Charlie Christian, Don Byas, Dizzy Gillespie and others. Second, the two more recently discovered sets displaying Monk’s original Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall in 1957 (a set at the Five Spot with Coltrane replacing Johnny Griffin was taped by Naima Coltrane on September 11, 1958). Other privately recorded radio and TV broadcasts have also surfaced, including three 1948 quartet performances with Idrees Sulieman, Curly Russell and Art Blakey; two 1955 sextet tunes played at the Steve Allen Show with Art Farmer and Hank Mobley among others, and the three interesting tunes from the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival, featuring Monk in performance with Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan.
In fact, Keepnews had recorded Monk live at the Five Spot on July 9, 1958, which was a month prior to the originally issued sets. Apparently Monk didn’t like the music when he heard it in the control booth, and a new recording (the one heard here) was planned.