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Monday, October 5, 2009


320 KBPS

What this disc lacks in program time is more than compensated for in content. While the teaming of Thelonious Monk (piano) with John Coltrane (tenor sax) might "look better on paper," as the adage goes, rest assured the results are even better on the disc. These were the same bountiful sessions that produced the Monk's Music and Thelonious Himself long-players. As such, Coleman Hawkins also joins the proceedings on two tracks — "Off Minor" and "Epistrophy." Unlike the version featured on Monk's Music, this reading of "Ruby, My Dear" features a Coltrane-led solo. He matches Hawkins' scintillating heat with his uncanny timing and syncopation, nestling Monk's chord progressions into his lines. The arithmetical "Trinkle, Tinkle" perfectly blends Coltrane's ability to swing into and out of some very precarious situations. Glimpses of his "sheets of sound" are augmented by some choice chord vamps from Monk. So in tune are Coltrane and Monk that the slightest alteration in pacing or attack is met with a response. Although the version of "Off Minor" featured here is considered a leftover or alternate take from the Monk's Music disc, in many ways its stark outbursts are best suited on this compilation. Hawkins' contributions cannot be overstated. His stately swinging offers a perfect balance to Monk's dizzy and off-kilter performance. "Functional" is a solo blues that extends well beyond the standard 12-bar structure and explores some of the various piano dialects that have become the signature of Monk's solos.

1. Ruby, My Dear
2. Trinkle, Tinkle
3. Off Minor
4. Nutty
5. Epistrophy
6. Functional

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