Thelonious Monk In Europe Vol2 (1961) Riverside

RLP003-Monk-in-Europe-Vol2-frontcover-1800 Selection: Hackensack (Monk) speed corrected -3% pitch


Charlie Rouse (ts) Thelonious Monk (p) John Ore (b) Frankie Dunlop (d) recorded at “L’Olympia”, Paris, France, April 18, 1961

Year: 1961

196131 May – President John F. Kennedy and Charles De Gaulle meet in Paris. Hi Mr President, may I call you Chas? Je m’appele Charles. Great, Chas, tell me, man to man, Mrs de Gaulle, is she “hot”, you know what I mean?  Ou est l’ interprète!!  Doesn’t any one here speak English? Merde…


Europe in three volumes – its a hatrick – each of the three volumes has a smoking picture of Monk, tea-cosy on head, I’d happily mount all three on the wall. Just to complete the asymetry – its Monk after all – Volumes 2 and 3 are from the same evening concert in Paris while volume 1 is from Italy. And to the annoyance of all,  according to those in the know, the best live concerts in his First European tour were those recorded in Stockholm, none of which material is released here. And Live at the IT club on the Evil Silver Disk I know is better still. Nevertheless, got to love those covers and UK mono Riverside Philips Dutch press sounds pretty good (to me).

Charlie Rouse gets a good workout and for a change I’ve gone for a track where Frankie Dunlop shows he can do more than miskeep time: Hackensack. They are all good, you can’t go wrong with a Monk (makes Egyptian hand movements) Walk like a Franciscan


UK Riverside RLP 003 , originally released in the US as RLP 460/461

Fontana/Interdisk, pressed by Philips, Holland.

RLP003-Monk-in-Europe-Vol2-labels-1800 RLP003-Monk-in-Europe-Vol2-raercover-1800 Collectors Corner


Source: Ebay
Sellers Description

All three Volumes, set complete:

Postscript: recent MP3 rips

Not possessed of perfect pitch or any reference instrument I was unaware my Numark portable usb TT default setting was actually slightly fast – elevating the pitch around 3% sharp. (If you were unaware of it LJC, that’s your credibility straight down the plughole!) The interesting process was playing a CD in the computer synchronised with the same LP playing on the Numark, something I have never had occasion to do before. What a shock: they were way off each other. All the DJ-types can stop smirking now. Hopefully now the TT is now well-tempered. My thanks to Eduard for staying in the case. The Hills are alive to the Sound of correctly out of tune. 😉

23 thoughts on “Thelonious Monk In Europe Vol2 (1961) Riverside

  1. Not to rehash a stereo vs mono debate, but I have to say that it’s uncanny to experience this mono rip of Hackensack when you, just like me now, sit right in front of the two speakers positioned to the left and right of my computer screen and play it loudly: I’d swear there’s a certain stereo ‘feel’ to it. I can’t explain it.

    Just for kicks I have wrapped both your original rip and a ‘save to mono’ file of your rip (made with the program I use to record my own records to PC) in one zip file that you can obtain by clicking HERE. To open the zip, the password is monk1961

    Both files are now in “wav” format. Again, it’s only to compare, ’cause you hear a clear difference, not to debate mono or stereo 😉

    • A mono record will always sound different whether you play it straight on a stereo system or with the “mono” switch on. The reason is that the surface noise is in “stereo” because it’s never the same in both channels. You can even increase this effect by pushing the “3D” switch that you find on some amps, but I’m afraid you will not like the result. I am not sure if this completely answers your question, because mono recordings sometimes underwent some strange processing in the early sixties. Still, I do not think that any “re-channelling for stereo” hocus-pocus was applied here.

      • Hello Ed, I understand what you mean. It is obvious that we’re dealing with a genuine mono Monk pressing of course; the electronically re-channelled ‘stereo’ issue doesn’t apply here at all. I’m familiar with what surface noise does when you play a mono record with a stereo cartridge: the static, clicks and pops differ in left and right. But if you focus on the music only, you can’t deny that the bass and cymbals seem to spread wider in the image than ‘just mono’, hence my upload of the two files of LJC’s rip. There will be more to this, but as said: I think it’s an interesting little ditty, not to start a stereo/mono debate all over again. For those who just tuned in, a link to pick up the two audio files is in my earlier comment 😉

        • Hi Matty, I think there’s something to it. I listened to LJC’s rip again with a headphone, pressing the “3D” switch intermittently, and the difference was remarkable. The “enhancement” (well, let’s call it that…) wouldn’t work if there wasn’t anything there to be enhanced. It never works with a genuine mono recording anyway. Whatever the tampering was, they did tamper with the original tapes in some way or other.

          • You see? It’s audible. Although we’re talking about a genuine mono pressing of this particular Monk pressing, it immediately hit me when I listened to the track posted with the article. It’s mono no doubt, but clearly with a -I’ll say it again- stereo ‘feel’ to it. For everyone’s convenience the two files to compare are still to be found in the link that I posted in my first comment above. Glad to know, Ed, that I’m not the only one who heard it 😉

            • When there’s something strange. In the neighbourhood. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters Mattyman…
              There is something in this – I am convinced not all mono sounds the same. Some exhibits a narrow point-source between the speakers, some is spread like a solid wall of sound between the speakers, some sounds spookily directional as though it has a stereo dimension. And it has “vertical stereo” due to bass cones and tweeters being three feet apart in height, even though each receives the same signal.
              Its a mystery.

              • There you have it. There’s more to mono than you’d think. This particular experience with Monk’s Hackensack as featured in today’s post had me reach for some of the mono vinyls that I have myself and indeed there something to every recording if you listen closely instead of playing them casually while you paint the ceiling.

                At the end of the day it’s still all about the music and the way it grabs it by your throat sometimes. But the more we talk about this, the more attention I pay to the mono recordings that I have. You learn something new every day 😉

          • Eduard, yes I think you may be onto something. The original master for this is Stereo so the mono is not true mono but a fold down… which ranks alongside re-chanelled Stereo for audio quality in my book! The original was a USA pressing also, not UK. (By the way Matty I cant download your file, tried it several times and when I go to open it it says download incomplete….).

            • Robert, please note what I say in the comment with the download: the ZIP file is passworded!

              You won’t be able to ‘unzip’ the file unless you type in the following password: monk1961

              If you try to unzip without the password, you get all kinds of weird error codes. I just downloaded the file one more time myself and it works perfectly! Just try it one more time. 😉

              • I tried several times. Safari just keeps saying file download not complete whenever I try and open the downloaded file…

                • In that case, Robert, I suggest you try a different browser. I tried it again here at work, where I work with a Mac, but with Mozilla/Firefox as my browser of choice instead of Safari en lo and behold: I managed to get it done again 🙂

    • “I’d swear there’s a certain stereo ‘feel’ to it. I can’t explain it.”

      Yes, this is a well known psychological phenomenon where you mind fills in the missing gaps in perception. A process often used by advertisers who use suggestion or inference in their advertising to persuade customers to buy products without the customer having to remember specific details.

      • Touché!

        Still I’d say to listen to the comparison I’ve made in that link of my first comment. Ain’t nothing subliminal about that 😀

    • Many thanks for your blogging efforts to disseminate the Word – I am delighted by your dedication! Would it be possible to re-upload? Thanks,

  2. Three volumes — “a hat trick”: Jesus, I just got it. Very good, LJC, hats off to your subtlety. And on the subject of Monk, have you heard the vinyl w/Coltrane at Carnegie Hall? I bought the CD as soon as it came out and I hardly played it. In fact, I don’t think I once played it all through. It seemed congested and lack-lustre.

    And then a few months back I managed to find the Mosaic 200gm vinyl — a copy from the previous pressing, i.e. before it went up to nearly sixty quid (at least, I saw it on Amazon for sixty quid). It sounds utterly different — and has to be up there with the very best of live Monk, including The IT Club. It is extraordinary. One of the live Monks that makes what little hair I possess bristle with its immediacy, its refusal to vanish into the past. And Monk got a lovely piano that night.

    • I make people work hard for the jokes around here.
      Damn, I passed on a copy of Monk and Coltrane just this afternoon, on the Swedish Dragon label. I have a Dragon pressing and its pretty good. I wonder if you weren’t looking over my shoulder as I just picked up a copy of the 1982 first release of the IT Club session, a double on CBS. I’m off to give it a listen.

        • Too erudite, Alun. Monk’s 1961 European Tour was

          “Concertgebouw”, Amsterdam, Holland, April 15, 1961
          “L’Olympia”, Paris, France, April 18, 1961
          “Teatro Lirico”, Milan, Italy, April 21, 1961
          “Casino”, Bern, Switzerland, May 10, 1961
          “Konserthuset”, Stockholm, Sweden, May 16, 1961

          The final date in Stockholm is the one Monkologists agree was the best of the tour, as by then they had warmed up, and maybe knocked back some schnapps. It is released on vinyl only in Swedish on the Dragon label.

          You knew that, of course, you were just testing me, weren’t you?

          • No, far from it, LJC — I was genuinely confused. For a moment I thought that the Carnegie Hall set had also been issued by someone other than Blue Note (CD) and Mosaic (vinyl). Now, of course, I am very clear that that is not the case 🙂

  3. Tea cosy indeed. Is this the tour where Monk and Nellie were transporting empty soda bottles from country to county in their overstuffed suitcases awaiting the perfect opportunity to cash them in…?

    • Far from financial opportunism, it’s not widely known but Mr and Mrs Monk were early advocates of glass recycling, which they discovered uses less energy than manufacturing glass from sand, lime and soda, and makes a significant contribution to reductions in CO2 emissions. Even less well known is that Monk insisted the keys of his piano were manufactured, not from ivory, but from recycled copies of the New York Times, which explains why so many of the notes were wrong a lot of the time.

      • By the by, the tea cosy remains aloft for RM 460/461 but is threatened by some ostantatious Italian sculpture in the background which was apparently the forerunner to today’s offerings from Sonus Faber…

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