Track selection: Locomotive (Monk)
Charlie Rouse (ts) Thelonious Monk (p) Larry Gales (b) Ben Riley (d) NYC, November 14 1966 – January 10 1967
Monks final quartet and sixth studio album, produced by Columbia’s Teo Macero, the man behind a lot of Miles Davis. This has to be Monk’s finest album, apart from all the others. The title track is best known among the DJ-tendancy, due to its “hard-drinking, cool bartending” attitude, but my preference is for the marvelous Locomotive, best known among recovering train spotters. I can’t get the tune out of my head (apologies to Kylie). Charlie Rouse is totally in sync with Monk’s thinking, and offers up some of his best playing, sometimes angular echoing Monk, but with nifty figures in a warm rounded tone. The whole album is very rhythmic and hard-swinging.
Vinyl: BPG 63009 UK mono from 1967, rough-texture orange label.
No doubt there is a Columbia 32-eye or whatever closer to the original but this has an exceptionally nice, well-behaved mono delivery, with good dynamic range and punch. No argument about stereo positioning, nothing to interfere with the enjoyment of arguably Monk’s best studio recording. Or did I write that about one of his previous recordings?
Looks to me, from the matrix house style, like EMI pressing, though I couldn’t find any direct attribution. Invite any further information, even ill-informed guesswork like mine
Source: eBay, UK Sellers Grading: Vinyl EX, Sleeve EX-, “UK original, textured label, laminated sleeve”
Ah, that sleeve is a real bonus. Laminated quality, the unique 60’s lustre does it for me every time. Why can’t they make covers like this today? Great design, all things considered, approved by the “Campaign against Wearing Unsuitable Hats on Record Covers” (Classified as “hat barely visible”, though a warning notice is served on the pictures accompanying the liner notes, especially Solo Monk’s flying helmet and goggles)
After several eBay auctions with eye-popping prices, it’s nice to play catch up with classic records at a sensible cost, Moscow and Tokyo obviously preoccupied with bigger fish.