Tuesday Evening Vinyl

Today was my first day as an official unemployed bum.  It’s a long story but it’s all good.  Anyway, part of “unemployedness” today involved a trip to the DMV, a 3000m open water training swim at the Welland International Flatwater Center and a trip to Record Theater in Buffalo this afternoon to take advantage of their big “Going Out of Business” sale*.  One of those purchases was this ‘Thelonious Alone In San Francisco‘  album by Thelonious Monk.


With the robust ambience of Fugazi Hall in San Francisco at his disposal, Monk recorded ten unaccompanied tracks over two days (October 21st and 22nd, 1959) – without a present audience – to create a long-awaited sequel to his immensely endearing ‘Thelonious Himself‘   long-player.

As had become somewhat customary for Monk, he brought with him a healthy sampling from his voluminous back catalog, cover tunes, as well as a few new compositions.  What is most immediately striking about these recordings is the rich and accurate sound stage at Fugazi Hall.  The overtones are rich and thoughtful in their ability to animate Monk’s recreations of some of his most endearing works, such as the pair that opens this set.

Blue Monk‘  still retains the proud stride and walking blues heritage of previous renderings.  Adding a bit of off-tempo improvisation, Monk propels and emphasizes the rhythmic swing even harder.  He is obviously also enjoying what he is hearing.  The audible maturity guiding Monk through the familiar, albeit offbeat, chord progressions of ‘Ruby, My Dear‘  is striking.  His nimble reflexes and split-second timing render this version superior.  Again, the sound of the hall offers even more to enjoy from this performance.  It is unfortunate that the playful solitude of ‘Round Lights‘  was never revisited.  This free-form composition is framed within a blues structure, yet reveals all of the slightly askew freedom of a Monk original.  The recreation of an old 1920’s hit, ‘There’s Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie‘, is another of the highlights from this album that was never recorded again by Monk.

This is an absolute must-own recording – Monk enthusiast or not.

And at %40 off, who could resist?

Certainly not I.

*Seriously, why are the two coolest record stores within an easy 20 minute drive both closing at the same time?  Isn’t this one of the signs of the forthcoming Apocalypse?

About crazytigerrabbitman

I am a fat guy and always will be in the same way they say that “once an alcoholic; always an alcoholic”. Eventually I got upset about my poor health and ballooning body frame so I decided to change things for the better. Some people sign up for Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or whatever fad diet program it is that happens to be occupying the majority of air time on the boob tube. Other people prefer to run out and purchase the latest, fold away, piece of shit being hawked by some celebrity has-been. Me? I decided to take up triathlon. I had abused my body over the years with bacon cheeseburgers, pints of beer and double-dipped donuts, and the time had now come to abuse my body with physical exertion, perseverance and hard work instead; penitence in it's purest form. The time had come to kick my ass. I am Terry Nash and I am the “fat and the furious”.
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