Track Selection 1: Brilliant Corners
Track Selection 2: Pannonica
Ernie Henry (as) Sonny Rollins (ts) Thelonious Monk (p, and Celeste on Pannonica) Oscar Pettiford (b) Max Roach (d) NYC, October 15 & 9, 1956
Monk at his most brilliant, in Brilliant Corners. Even Rollins claimed it was impossible to play. Time signatures like a learner driver failing his driving test, lurching into first, third, emergency stop, hill start, and a nagging pungent tune that won’t go away. It is everything a lot of popular music today isn’t. Unpredictable, but scored and structured unpredictability rather than the randomness of free jazz.
A double helping, with a second track Pannonica, obviously named after a well-known brand of camera. Product placement as early as 1956. Monk doubles up on celeste to add texture to the bluesy Ellingtonian ballad.
If you don’t get Monk, don’t worry, Monk will get you.
Vinyl: Riverside RLP 12-226
DG, mono, no UK copyright details on the song titles, Lacking the usual “Distributed by Interdisk” note on the cover which usually denotes a British pressing. Looks like an original US copy but who knows, with dual nationality patents in the runout.
The cover is a marvel.
British or US pressing? Those patents, what can they mean? What is patent about a record.
Put out in a London store for only £7 It plays a lot better than it looks. Judging from the skating rink around the spindle it was often played record. There is some surface noise and a few brief tics and pops and but with Monk, you could say they enhance the time signatures – sort of polyrhythmic special effects. The dealer should know, most of the scuffs are entirely superficial, as they can’t be felt, but I guess it’s a double take – thinking what a punter will think, hence the giveaway price. Which suited me fine – thats often where bargains are to be found.