Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners

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Few composers or improvisers can match the originality of pianist Thelonious Monk. Quirky yet rigorously logical, Monk’s playful but always purposeful choice of skewed melodies and interrupted rhythm patterns gave the bebop movement, and jazz in total, a new sound that was totally modern. Although he created a surprisingly limited body of compositions, his impact on the vocabulary and canon of jazz is second to none, including such prolific giants as Duke Ellington. Brilliant Corners is a triumph of both performance and conception: the two small-group sessions, anchored by Monk, drummer Max Roach, and the bass work of either Oscar Pettiford or Paul Chambers, feature superb front-line performances by saxophonists Sonny Rollins and the tragically under-recorded Ernie Henry, as well as trumpeter Clark Terry. The title track, which centers the collection, is one of Monk’s most unconventional pieces, skirting whole-tone, chromatic and Lydian scales; a version of “Pannonica” finds Monk doubling on celeste, while the band stretches out on “Bemsha Swing” and the blues “Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are.”

Tracklist

01. Brilliant Corners
02. Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are
03. Pannonica
04. I Surrender, Dear
05. Bemsha Swing

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