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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Puddy: "Eventually we paid our entrance money [to Eel Pie Island] and fought our way to one of the many bars where we could buy our Newcastle Brown and retire to the back of the heaving dancefloor. There must have been lights somewhere, but my memory remains of being in some dark cavernous wonderland." - (Just Jazz July 2020)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Album review: Thelonious Monk Quartet - MONK: Palo Alto

Charlie Rouse (tenor sax); Thelonious Monk (piano); Larry Gales (bass); Ben Riley (drums).

Last year saw some previously unreleased Coltrane albums surface, this year it's Monk's turn.

All the great jazz musicians from Louis to Bird to Trane to Ornette and beyond had periods when, rightly or wrongly, it was defined as being their classic line-up. Although Monk recorded with Bird, Diz, Trane and Rollins among others it was his long association with Rouse where it all seemed to come together and this live recording from October 1968 is proof if indeed further proof should be needed.


Monk and Rouse, like Desmond and Brubeck, Mulligan and Baker. Brown and Land, are among the great modern jazz partnerships and to turn up a gem such as this, 50 years on, makes me wonder how much more is gathering dust in vaults and attics.

A mix of Monk classics and a couple of standards delighted the lunchtime high school audience in Palo Alto, California. How the Monk Quartet came to be playing at a school in Palo Alto is one of those jazz moments that will be go down in legend and, even now, I bet there are many elderly Americans saying "I was there" even if they happened to be in New York at the time!*

All  47 minutes of the concert are on the album: Ruby, My Dear; Well You Needn't; Blue Monk and Epistrophy are by the quartet whilst Don't Blame Me and I Love You (Sweetheart of All My Dreams) are piano solos - the latter quite dazzling, the former a little bit tongue in cheek! The 14 minutes of Blue Monk surely ranks as the definitive with Rouse in blistering form. Gales and Riley also shine solowise. 
Tremendous!

Impulse have the album scheduled for release on July 31. Order now online or from your friendly neighbourhood record shop.
Lance

In the autumn of 1968, a sixteen-year-old boy named Danny Scher had a dream. He wanted to bring the renowned jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and his quartet to play a benefit concert at his high school in Palo Alto, California to raise funds for his school and to help bring about racial unity in his community. Armed with little more than a telephone, posters, a persuasive pitch, an impressive knowledge of jazz and an iron-willed determination, Scher made the concert happen.

After miraculously securing Monk’s services to perform on Sunday,  October 27, 1968, for $500, Scher initially had trouble selling tickets and convincing people that Monk would even show up. With many twists and turns along the way, including Scher’s older brother having to drive to San Francisco to bring the quartet to the school, and hundreds of people waiting in the school’s parking lot to await Monk’s arrival before purchasing their $2 tickets, the concert went ahead, sold out, and was a triumph. 

“It was a total pleasure,” says Scher, whose two idols in his youth were Monk and Duke Ellington. “There was nothing odd. I loved Monk, I loved his music, and I loved producing. It was great seeing Monk dancing around the stage and then coming back to the piano when it was the right time. There was zero drama.”

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