34. 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.