Thelonious Monk Revisisted in Stellar 15-Disc Set 'Complete Riverside Recordings'

By Ian Holubiak | May 23, 2015 12:24 PM EDT
T.S. Monk speaks onstage during the Thelonius Monk Jazz Trumpet Competition and All-Star Gala concert held at Dolby Theater on November 9, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo : Michael Tran/Getty Images)

As of late, a new trove of Thelonious Monk recordings have been compiled for listeners of all stripes. A fifteen-disc set, Thelonious Monk: The Complete Riverside Recordings is comprised of sessions both live and in the studio for the Riverside label, this marks his most complete set to date.

Spanning the period between 1955 and 1961, the set chronicles the most vivid and expansive part of Monk's career. While almost all of the recordings are available separately, as it's been noted, the chronology of his work is also in part the allure of this new release.

From locations such as New York's Town Hall and the Five Spot to San Francisco's Blackhawk to concerts in Paris and Milan, the fifteen discs capture the essence of Thelonious in a variety of settings--solo, trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, septet and big band.

But as The New Yorker makes sure to point out, there are some things in the box that you can't get elsewhere, including three fascinating live cuts from the Blackhawk in 1960 and other musical partnerships that carried him through the tumultuous sixties.

As of late, the anthology is available on most digital retailers including Amazon. But in the meantime, if you can't pick up your copy today, then be sure to take a listen below.

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