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Thelonious Monk: Newport ’59

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Legend has it that a good piano inspired Thelonious Monk’s 1957 performance at Carnegie Hall with John Coltrane, a date that was famously unearthed and released on Blue Note in 2005. The 88s provided for the Newport Jazz Festival two years later surely weren’t bad either. This set, from that evening, begins with a take of “In Walked Bud” in which the pianist solos for six choruses. The first few feature standard Monkisms: an out-of-time restatement of the theme, snatches of past and future Monk compositions, short riffs followed by open bars. But with that out of the way, he thinks outside of the box in chorus six, just long enough to impress before wrapping up the tune. He also breaks new funky ground in “Well, You Needn’t.”

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