Track Selection 1: Bolivar Blues
Track Selection 2. Sweet and Lovely
Charlie Rouse (ts) Thelonious Monk (p) John Ore (b) Frankie Dunlop (d) recorded NYC, November 1-6, 1962. Produced by Teo Macero, Miles Davis’s former producer.
Track selection kicks off with Bolivar Blues, in an alternative recording to the Brilliant Corners version with the mysterious missing introduction. It is not “missing” here. Elsewhere there is a connection with the previous post of Dexter Gordon, a version of “Body and Soul”.
Monk at the ripe old age of 45 after a long association with Riverside, his first recording for Columbia, a move made after a gap-year touring Europe. Everything flows here, Charlie Rouse knows the score, and Monk’s choice of discordant notes and play with time signatures is altogether more self-assured and matured. The listener by now has “got Monk” and expects the unexpected, even looks forward to it.
Vinyl: Columbia CS 8765 stereo 360, original “two eye” label, from 1963
The Stereo sounds good, to this mono-man. Columbia were obviously very proud of the technology behind their Stereo 360 degree sound, overloading the casual liner-note browser with detail of microphone model numbers and brands of lathes. This was the era of belief in progress through technology, putting man into space – first man Yuri Gagarin in 1961. Technology was something to be proud of, and the future was an exciting place to be, before today’s dystopia-mongers took the future hostage for their own ends.
If there were ever any doubt, the sound of Columbia two-eyes is great. Just a short few years transition from Riverside but a huge advance in recording quality. Soundstage organisation however continues to put Rouse centre stage and Monk to one side, however it seems to work a lot better than on Criss Cross
Monk of course is wearing the correct pork-pie hat and the cover artwork is fully compliant with the new music industry guidelines on Non-Smoking Record Covers.
It’s worth reading the rear cover 360 degree Stereo technical briefing, if only because it provides a fund of knowledge with which to baffle other collectors at pubs outside record fairs.
Another low-cost find in a London Soho store. Monk clearly wasn’t thought “sexy”, his music is thought of as “difficult”, lacking the demographic-demanded “badness” image factor. Suits me. £10. No mortgage required, straight, no chaser. Qualifies as “Very Inexpensive”