January/February 1997

Thelonious Monk
Straight, No Chaser
Columbia Jazz

Monk's Columbia records were once thought of as uninspired rehashings of material previously defined with superior sidemen. Thirty years' hindsight does wonders for the vision; we now see that Charlie Rouse was nearly ideal as Monk's horn man, that what seemed like sameness was actually consistent greatness, and that a book full of jazz classics didn't really need expansion. Speaking of expansion, there's enough here with two unissued takes and restored versions of three previously-edited tracks to recommend this release even if your old vinyl is still playable. - Duck Baker

Originally published in January/February 1997
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