Jazz

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Lone Monk

10 JUN 11 JOHN C. BRUENING

A reissue of Thelonious Monk's 1959 Riverside album, Thelonious Alone In San Francisco, is one of the most recent offerings in Concord's Original Jazz Classics Remasters series. As with all of the titles in this ongoing series, Thelonious Alone is enhanced with 24-bit digital remastering and newly written liner notes that provide historical context for the recording.

Thelonious Alone in San Francisco is a sequel of sorts to Thelonious Himself, released two years earlier. The album provides what is arguably the most direct and accessible experience of Monk -- a brilliant jazz pianist and his instrument, without any layers of distraction to get in the way.

From the familiar "Blue Monk," which opens the 10-song set, the album as a whole is simple and complex at the same time. Whether it's original material like "Ruby, My Dear" and "Reflections," or standards like the "Always" and the "There's Danger In Your Eyes, Cherie," there's a sleight of hand about the performances that is classic Monk -- an apparent simplicity at the surface that moves in counterpoint to the sophistication lurking beneath the melodies. In addition to the 10 original tracks, the reissue also includes an alternate take of "There's Danger In Your Eyes, Cherie."

"With Thelonious Alone In San Francisco, Monk proved that his earlier success as a solo artist was not a fluke," according to the liner notes by Neil Tesser. "And in rejecting all the 'rules' for playing without accompaniment -- as he'd rejected so many rules before -- Monk expanded the entire concept of the solo piano idiom."

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