Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stubs on Keyboards

In November of 1968, CBS released Thelonious Monk's last album on their label. They had intended on putting out another release afterwards- an album of Beatles covers. Interest in jazz was waning and they were looking for a way to make Monk's music appeal to a younger generation. To add insult to injury, they even had a record executive come over to his house and play him the tunes as if he couldn't read sheet music. As a result of this bombastic event, Monk left CBS and went his own way, playing live performances in New York City and doing radio shows in Japan.

These were the last recordings he made as a band leader. The Black Lion sessions were recorded during the Giants Of Jazz tour with Art Blakey, Al McKibbon, Sonny Stitt, Dizzy Gillespie, and Kai Winding in 1971. The Vogue sessions were recorded much earlier in 1954. The complete box set was released by Mosaic Records as a 4-LP package and only 7500 copies were printed. Although, the majority of these tracks are solo performances, the dissonant harmonies and angularity of his compositions still shine through.

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