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JazzTimes 10: All-Time Great Jazz Quartets

From Goodman to Shorter, some of the best jazz has carried the sign of four

Thelonious Monk Quartet
Monk was a master of the quartet format, no question, but which foursome was his greatest? The ‘50s band with Coltrane? The ’60s one with Charlie Rouse? We’d like to put in a good word for the 1958 group that recorded Thelonious in Action (Riverside/OJC) at the Five Spot in NYC: Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass, Roy Haynes on drums, and the irrepressible Johnny Griffin on tenor sax. “Light Blue,” “Rhythm-a-Ning,” “Blue Monk,” “Evidence”—if you’re in need of some prime Monk music, look no further.

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Originally Published
Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall has been the editor of JazzTimes since May 2018. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.