Mengelberg: Regeneration (1983) Monk

Mishe-Mengelberg-Regeneration-frontcover-1800-LJC -2

On one side Mengelberg  Lacy and Rudd took Herbie Nichols for a walk (see previous post) Now on the other side they pick on Monk. This post follows up the Monk selection.  To make sure Mengelberg and his pals don’t get a free pass, I have included a recording of the original work for contrast ( a good excuse to upload more Monk) For your delectation, a triple record post, in each case kicking off with the original.

Selection: 1. Monk’s Mood

Thelonious Monk – w/ John Coltrane & Wilbur Ware 1958 (from RLP 12-235 Thelonious Himself)

Misha Mengelberg Roswell Rudd Steve Lacy et al 1983  (from SN 1054 Regeneration )

Selection 2: Friday The Thirteenth

Thelonious Monk w/ Sonny Rollins from PR LP 7169 UK Esquire 32-115)

Misha Mengelberg Roswell Rudd Steve Lacy et al 1983  (from SN 1054 Regeneration )

LJC Verdict:

LJC perfectoMonk’s Moods and Friday The Thirteenth – I think both versions acquit themselves honourably. Monk’s strong compositions withstand repetition – he himself played the limited number of songs in his repertoire many times, and it’s within the spirit of Monk to do another take.

Mengelberg’s take on Monk is affectionate: in the style and manner of Monk without  being an imitator or copyist.

Rudd’s trombone makes a good fist of Julius Watkins French horn, and Lacy is hard to accuse of being a Rollins-impersonator, so the improvisations offer a different character to the song. The addition of Coltrane to solo Monk on Monks Mood is an inspirational decision.

I like them both, and the Soul Note offers delicious stereo.  The comparison does remind you of the great compositions of Monk, as much as his devilish playing, that is an unbeatable combination. But that’s just my view, what does expert musicologist van Meerkat think?

Meerkat-Professor“I am in complete agreement with LJC: Monk is amazing – Brilliant Corners anyone? Da da di-da, didadidadida da dum dum dum dum, dededede de-re, no,dum dum dum dum, diddlidee de dida doo…er… doo-wop doo-wop. Reviewing this stuff isn’t easy you know. Maybe I stick with comparing insurance. Ever had an accident at work that wasn’t your fault?”  (A kat’s gotta eat…)

Original recording sources:

Selection: Monk – Monks Mood: John Coltrane (tenor saxophone) Thelonious Monk (piano) Wilbur Ware (bass) recorded Reeves Sound Studios, NYC, April 16, 1957 Interdisk  edition, press by UK Philips.




Selection: Monk – Friday The Thirteenth – PRLP 7169 “Work” Julius Watkins (French horn) Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone) Thelonious Monk (piano) Percy Heath (bass) Willie Jones (drums) recorded NYC, November 13, 1953.

This edition, Esquire 32-115 1st  UK release on US metalwork manufactured by Abbey (AB) and RVG.




Three record posting, enjoy, just don’t get to assume you get this much every time.


LJC, tonight, rambling guest of Smoke Radio – courtesy of  LJC fan Max Paradiso, thanks for the airtime Max. Please, no photos, see my agent 

A replay of the radio chat is available – you can not only read LJC, you can listen to him – and no meerkats! Check post November 25, 2013 on the blog of the most excellent Max Paradiso, Mr Dispenser, of Smoke Radio aka University of Westminster.

8 thoughts on “Mengelberg: Regeneration (1983) Monk

  1. Well, Mengelberg and Co. can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned…. But I have to say that Monk’s Mood doesn’t have quite the excitement of reconstruction and reinterpretation that the same band’s take on Herbie Nichols does — at least until Mengelberg’s simply brilliant solo comes in. But this is a minor shade of difference, really, it’s still a bloody essential record and one I shall wrest from your cold dead hands at some point — unless I find my own copy, that is.

  2. Agreed: Mengelberg’s approach is, indeed, respectful. You learn something new everyday, ’cause once again this record is totally unknown to me. I remember some old footage of Mengelberg hammering the keyboard of his piano like a toddler and I can’t say it was enjoyable to listen to. This, however, is something else.

    And about your appearance on Smoke Radio: I’ve searched their site, but I can’t find anything related to LondonJazzCollector… Do you maybe have a link for us in handy? 🙂

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