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This excellent album by the great jazz pianist/composer Thelonious Monk(1917-82) originated from a 1968 concert for racial unity organised,against the odds, by a 16-year-old Danny Scher at his high school in Palo Alto, California. It was recorded by the school janitor on October 27, 1968 with Monk(piano); Charlie Rouse(tenor sax); Larry Gales(bass) & Ben Riley(drums) but the tapes have languished unheard until now. Monk's highly empathetic group are in energised form playing 'Ruby My Dear'; 'Well, You Needn't'; 'Blue Monk'; 'Epistrophy' and a moving solo exploration of 'Don't Blame Me'. Danny Scher and Impulse! Records are to be congratulated for their efforts in releasing this long-lost gem which has very good sound quality and is one of Monk's best live quartet recordings.
Btw ~ Unfortunately, the release of this rediscovered live album was delayed due to a dispute between Monk's estate and his previous record label. Thankfully, 'Palo Alto' now seems to be easily available from several sellers.
A truly wonderful Album bring us a recording so far unheard of a 1968 Monk Concert. The music and the performances by the Quartet are absolutely magnificent especially as it was recorded by a college janitor. The concert itself tells a great story - 17 year old college entertainments officer phones Monk's manager and agrees deal for Monk to do a concert at a little known Californian college. There were doubts about whether it would ever happen. But it did. And the CD brings it to us after a delay of 50 years, complete with a very informative booklet, and a copy of the poster advertising the concert. For Monk fans this is not only the album that nearly got away it is a magnificent album featuring Monk at his best.
Grab a copy if/while you can. Supposedly the estate managing Monk’s affairs have banned this/insisted it be withdrawn from sale or similar due to its (in essence) ‘bootleg’ nature. The sound quality is excellent, there should be no concerns on that front. Whether talk of withdrawal is true or a myth you should still gab a copy when/if you can.
The songs are crowd pleasers and the story of how the concert came to be, in the liner notes, brings a lump to your throat (the band arrived in the schoolboy organiser’s brother’s little van (to be sure they would come at all!) ... with the bass sticking out of the window!). The young lad who made this happen did a very fine thing (both in terms of the world of music and fund raising - and (it later turned out) in respect of race relations too).
Superb playing by the quartet (Monk: P; Rouse: S; Gales: B; Riley: D) and even the slightly out of tune school piano adds to the atmosphere.
This disc is an absolute ‘must have’ for any Monk fan. Get it while you can - before all available copies disappear.
For a while it looked like this recording was not going to see the light of day but it was great that the parties involved sorted out the legal dispute.
First thing to note this is an amateur recording so do not expect hi-fi quality - there's some distortion on a few of the tracks. There's only so much cleaning up can be done without losing the original raw quality.
The packaging is superb and the replica programme and poster are really well reproduced. The booklet has great liner notes that not only cover the concert itself but gives the historical concert. Sadly it seems as if the same problems around skin colour still blight our society.
My only disappointment given the price of the record is the lighweight pressing - my copy is badly warped and will likely send it back for replacement. At the price I expected a premium wight pressing like the Blue Note Tone Poets releases and I'm pretty certain it was advertised as 180G on some sites.
But if you are a Monk fan then this is one to enjoy.
I've got to confess to being a Monk enthusiast so when this was announced I was intrigued, then disappointed when the wrangles over copyright made it look as though it might never see the light of day. How great it was that those issues were resolved. If you're worried by the fact that it was recorded by the school janitor, don't be - the recording captures the immediacy of a live gig where you get to feel the performers and audience were both appreciating each other. Detailed sleeve notes do justice to the recording and the facsimile poster for the even is a neat idea. Has anyone else noticed the small ads on the inner sleeve? The range of movies on offer that sunday has some great choices!
I god worried for a while that the only way I’d be able to hear this recording would be if I bought it for 6x the initial price from eBay or Discogs, but I managed to get a copy from good old amazon. I highly recommend this album as it is monk and co playing fan favourites in a fiery way. Long Live Monk ! And thanks to Impulse for getting this out !
Pensavo che, nel presentare questo cd sul web e sulla carta stampata, prima della travagliata pubblicazione, il figlio del pianista T.S. Monk si fosse un po lasciato andare nel definirlo "il più bel concerto che abbia mai sentito di mio padre" essendo coinvolto oltre che affettivamente anche nella produzione del medesimo. Theloinious Monk è personaggio documentato piuttosto bene nelle sue apparizioni live, tanto in album ufficiali quanto in bootleg, ma questo concerto, del ottobre del 1968 presso la High School di Paolo Alto in California, in un periodo nel quale la creatività del pianista si era un po affievolita, così come le registrazioni ufficiali in studio - nel febbraio di quello stesso anno aveva terminato le registrazioni per l'album Columbia "Underground", apprezzato più per la stravagante copertina che per le novità (in realtà poche) musicali - è realmente qualche cosa di splendido. Il quartetto completato dal fido Charlie Rouse al sax tenore, - fantastico musicista oggigiorno peraltro dimenticato dai più - che in questa registrazione fa faville, Larry Gales al contrabbasso, che regala dei soli con l'utilizzo dell'archetto da incorniciare, ed un altro uomo di fiducia di Monk quale Ben Riley, che dietro ai tamburi "canta" assoli di rara bellezza, gira alla perfezione, forte anche dei quasi quattro anni di affiatamento, e ci regala realmente una performance di una bellezza e di una intensità ascoltati di rado. La scaletta del concerto è composta da alcuni fra i grandi classici dalla penna del pianista, quali Ruby My Dear, Well,'You Needn't, Blue Monk ed Epistrophy, più due performance solitarie di Monk, la adorata Don't Blame Me e il conclusivo encore I Love You Sweetheart Of All My Dreams...ma si potrebbe continuare ancora per molte righe a tessere lodi sperticate a questo cd, dall'ottima ripresa sonora all' interessantissimo ed esplicativo booklet, fino alla gradita sorpresa della riproduzione del poster del concerto! Album assolutamente obbligatorio per tutti gli amanti del jazz!!!
I had to have this CD as soon as I was aware of it and it didn't disappoint. It is fast becoming my most listened to Monk recording and lots of interesting information on how this recording came to be. Humanity at it's peak. An absolute joy to listen to.