Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser

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