Orrin Keepnews' commentary (from his new liner notes): "This, you might say, is an album of undiluted Monk. Like most generalizations, that wouldbe putting things a bit too simply, but the core of truth is there. For, with the deliberate exceptionof the final selection, this is literally Thelonious Himself—Monk, alone in the recordingstudio, offering highly personal versions of some standards and some of his own tunes.
As might be expected, the overall tone of this album is reflective. The tempos are relaxed and there is a good deal of that sometimes deceptivefeeling of searching, while playing, for an idea to explore, of almost unexpectedly finding in a single note or phrase the impetus for afull chorus that follows. This is a feeling that often gives Monk’s playing a quality of thinking-out-loud. It isn’t that he sounds unprepared, orsurprised by the directions in which he takes himself; it is rather, as if he were constantly discovering and rediscovering within himself bothnew and remembered patterns of music."
Orrin on The Keepnews Collection:
This is a series of reissues that can be described as largely centered on my incredibly long (even to me) career as a jazz producer, contributing to the careers of some of the most significant jazz performers of our day. The series follows a specific set of ground rules. In each case the original product is preserved-cover art, the notes, and the entire initial recorded content, in the exact original sequence-and it is now presented with the sonic benefits of 24-bit remastering from the original master tapes. Alternate takes or originally unissued numbers, when available, appear as bonus tracks. In some instances I've added to the total lineup a never-used version that may have been recorded forty or more years ago. When that occasionally allows you to hear for the first time a "new" performance by a long-departed artist, be aware that I join you in considering this a truly wonderful addition. Finally, I have written a complete set of new commentaries, digging back into my memories of those often very good old days to tell a few more stories about this remarkable music and its people. On the whole, I am unreasonably and unshakably proud of the results.