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Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane: Sweet and Lovely

In early April the Library of Congress (LOC) announced the discovery of never-released recordings featuring Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane performing at Carnegie Hall. The tapes, discovered among other material to be digitized as part of the Library’s continuing audio-preservation program, are from a 1957 performance recorded by the Voice of America (VOA) for broadcast overseas but which were never heard in the United States. The tapes also include performances from that same evening by Ray Charles, Sonny Rollins, the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and the Zoot Sims Quartet with Chet Baker.

Larry Appelbaum, senior studio engineer/ supervisor of the Library’s Magnetic Recording Laboratory and the LOC’s jazz specialist, discovered the music amid the Library’s nearly 50,000 VOA tapes that are being systematically categorized and digitized. “Among the tapes in a recent batch selected for digitization were eight 10-inch open-reel tapes labeled ‘Carnegie Hall Jazz,’ with the date November 29, 1957,” Appelbaum said. “The back of one of the tape boxes included a note that said ‘T. Monk.’ When I played it, I recognized Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane playing tenor saxophone. The announcements by Willis Conover from the stage that night confirmed the lineup.”

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