Thelonious Monk “Pure Monk: Thelonious Monk Piano Solos”

This record is some sort of a cheapo re-issue, I think, on the Trip record label. I’m guessing all eight of these songs were on other records, and they’re all solo piano. I think this record came out about 1974. Thelonious Monk released a lot of records and was immensely well-known and popular (while there are people who just can’t stand him at all). Ever since I first heard some of his recordings, in 1981, I’ve been fascinated with him, because I didn’t know there was any music that sounded like that. I feel like I’ve written about him a lot, and so I’m just repeating myself, so I’m not going to write much here. I guess there are times when I don’t feel like listening to his music, just because it’s my favorite—it’s like, if you have a favorite food, do you eat it every meal? But most of the time when I hear a recording of him playing, whether with a band or solo, I just stop what I’m doing and listen. There’s something there, connected right to my brain—I mean, it’s almost like without the microphones and magnetic audio tape and records and speakers or even my ears. It’s too bad you don’t find his records in cheap stores all that often—I guess they go for a lot of money. This one is probably not very desirable among collectors, and as an object it’s pretty lackluster—it’s just an uninspiring presentation. It almost seems like it could have come out yesterday, so it’s kind of weird that it came out like 45 years ago. I’m talking about the cover—the record itself sounds fine. The music, of course, is great—look, I don’t have a favorite food—or book, or writer, or movie, or artist, or a favorite anything. Except for Thelonious Monk’s music—all of it—that’s my favorite music.


2 Responses to “Thelonious Monk “Pure Monk: Thelonious Monk Piano Solos””

  1. 1 J Curtis
    February 9, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I looked this up on Discogs to check out the cover, and also to see how legit of a compilation it is, after your comments. Turns out there are 40 different versions of this specific record, but it actually originally was a 10″ record put out in France in 1954: https://www.discogs.com/Thelonious-Monk-Piano-Solo/release/1699666. It doesn’t say whether it’s actually a compilation or not, but I kind of get the idea from this listing that it’s not.
    Anyhow — I don’t have much of Monk’s music myself — most of the jazz records I have came from my dad’s collection, and I guess my dad wasn’t a Monk fan. But I do have a copy of his album, “Brilliant Corners,” do you have that one? I like it a lot.

    • February 9, 2019 at 7:17 pm

      I have very few Thelonious Monk records – if I ever get some money, I’ll buy some, but they’re usually pretty expensive. I have a lot of his stuff on cassette that I recorded from CDs. I like everything I’ve ever heard by him – really just my favorite musical artist. That record was one I happened to see somewhere for $4 – I guess since it’s not really a ligit release – but still it sounds great. It’s bizarre that they spelled his name wrong on the cover (“Thelonius”) and on the disc itself. I looked on the internet for instances of misspelling his name, and apparently, on this street named after him in NYC (Thelonious Sphere Monk Circle) they spelled his name wrong (though it was on a replacement sign, at some point, as that street sign gets stolen rather frequently).

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