Thelonious Monk’s years as a Prestige recording artist (1952-1954) were tough times for the legendary composer/pianist. Unable to work in New York clubs due to the unjust loss of his cabaret card, and misunderstood when not ignored by listeners as well as many musicians, Monk’s profile was sustained primarily by his appearances as both leader and sideman on a series of Prestige sessions released in the then-new LP format. The present collection, which samples three of those sessions, appeared as critics and fans were beginning to catch up to Monk’s singular genius and remains one of the best introductions to his iconoclastic brilliance. Three tracks feature leading Monk disciple Sonny Rollins, hitting early peaks on two standards and stretching out on “Friday the 13th,” plus a pair of tracks in which Monk’s greatest studio trio (with Percy Heath on bass and Art Blakey on drums) introduce the classic “Work” and “Nutty.”
Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone); Julius Watkins (French horn); Percy Heath, Tommy Potter (upright bass); Art Blakey, Art Taylor, Willie Jones (drums).
01. The Way You Look Tonight
02. I Want To Be Happy
05. Friday The 13th