Thelonious Monk Misterioso (1958) Riverside Orpheum


Selection: Misterioso (Monk) stereo


Johnny Griffin (ts) Thelonious Monk (p) Ahmed Abdul-Malik (b) Roy Haynes (d) recorded live at the “Five Spot Cafe”, NYC, August 7, 1958; Cover Painting The Seer Giorgio de Chirico


1958Johnny Griffin features prominently  in the quartet, with his hard-blowing bluesy swaggering Chicago tenor solos, following which Monk has to pointedly remind everyone of the composition in hand. Roy Haynes, the drummers drummer, keeps it tight and rolling.

Vinyl: US Orpheum Riverside reissue of RLP 1133 (1958) Stereo

Produced  late Sixties by Orpheum Productions, Inc., 235 West 46th St., N.Y. who purchased the Riverside label and catalogue around 1966 and produced a good number of high quality reissues over a couple of years before selling the label on, ultimately to Fantasy Records LA.

Orpheum are usually a dark turqoise label, these are classic Riverside blue, without the twin reels and mic.



Collectors Corner

Source: From the collection of the late Brian Clark. Thirty spanking records, I still havent sat down to listen to half of them. When I did, this one turned out to have more of a story to it than I anticipated.

LJC Brother JazzBrother Jazz says:

Wait. You didn’t think you were going to be let off so lightly did you? Monk Remedial Class, pay attention. Misterioso, live at the 5 spot, not to be confused with  Misterioso (Recorded on Tour) released by Columbia in 1965, a series of Monk Quartet US club and college tour dates between 1963 and 65.


Selection: Misterioso – mono

The same Monk composition, Misterioso,  during which performance the seated Lincoln Centre audience were more respectful of Monk than the drinkers at The Five Spot in 1958, for some of whom, to judge from the background conversation, Monk must have been just another pub band.


Thelonious Monk (p), Butch Warren or Larry Gales (b), Ben Riley or Frank Dunlop (d), Charlie Rouse (ts) recorded on tour 1963-5 including Brandeis University,  Lincoln Centre, Newport Jazz festival, Jazz Workshop SF, The Village Gate, and Tokyo Japan.


1964You can sense how Charlie Rouse’s tenor in the quartet integrated more closely with Monks musical vision. That said I miss Griffin’s feisty attack and zest and Haynes snap crackle.  Recording techniques seem to have moved on a lot in the gap between the two recordings.

Vinyl: CBS BPG 62620  (UK 1st release 1966) of CL2416




From the late lamented Intoxica, Portobello Road, Notting Hill. Over-priced, never knowingly under-sold, but strangely missed. One fewer record shop, another step towards total world domination by Ebay.

When I added the Riverside Orpheum  Misterioso to my collection  I honestly believed it was the same recording as the above Columbia CBS Misterioso (Recorded on Tour). I remember it being a live recording, and I thought trade up to a Stereo rather than Mono and a better cover. Proper art. How was I supposed to know there were two Misterioso’s ? You could say, it’s a mystery, really…LJC-Dunce

Corner, now LJC,  the Dunce’s cap!

9 thoughts on “Thelonious Monk Misterioso (1958) Riverside Orpheum

  1. Sorry I’m late to the party. To confuse you further, there are published discographies that contradict some of the recording locations listed on the rear cover of the Columbia Misterioso (Recorded on Tour).

    They say that “Gettin’ Sentimental” and “All the Things You Are” were not recorded at The Jazz Workshop in San Francisco but the It Club in Los Angeles. Further, “Bemsha Swing” was reputedly recorded at The Jazz Workshop and not The Village Gate. Finally, it’s unclear whether the other Village Gate track, “Honeysuckle Rose”, was recorded live. It’s only listed as NYC March 3rd 1965.

    Rest assured that “Misterioso” was recorded at Lincoln Center though.


  2. It’s always good to hear Misterioso and both these are great. My favourite is a 1957 recording featuring Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Jay Jay Johnson, Paul Chambers, Art Blakey and Monk on Blue Note. If you haven’t already, check it out.


  3. Interesting, this is new to me. I have Riverside RLP-1190 ‘Thelonious in Action.’ It was also recorded 07 August 1958 with the same lineup but the contents are different. It’s one of my favorite Thelonious Monk albums — Johnny Griffin is just everywhere on it, and he goes in such a different direction when I’m used to hearing Charlie Rouse, et al. Thanks for posting, I’ll have to track this down


  4. thanks for posting… great to hear a take of ‘light blue’ that i hadn’t previously experienced. i think charlie rouse was an extension of monk’s whole sound. the quartet sounds like one person.


  5. Two great albums, no matter on who to focus really, Griffin, Monk, for me it doesn’t matter. And I enjoy the pub banter in the background. Besides all that: whenever Monk is involved, I give in, lay down, put my feet on the table and submerge 😉 And in agreement with Leslie: the painting on the 1958 version is marvellous. They don’t make ’em like that anymore…


  6. I agree: the Five Spot sessions should be under the name “Johnny Griffin”–if I had to guess, about 70% of every track on these albums (including RLP 12-262) is Griffin soloing…which is great, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like they’re more Johnny Griffin albums than Monk albums for that reason.


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