Monk in Tokyo – The Thelonious Monk Quartet – Sony SOPW 69-70/ Speakers Corner double vinyl

by | Dec 13, 2016 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

A full listen to a Japanese performance by Monk’s quartet in 1963.

Monk in Tokyo – The Thelonious Monk Quartet  [TrackList follows]- Sony SOPW 69-70/Speakers Corner double vinyl – (12/9/16) ****:

(Thelonious Monk, piano/ Charlie Rouse, tenor/ Butch Warren, bass/ Frankie Dunlop, drums)

Recorded in Sankei Hall in May 1963, this was Monk’s last performance in Tokyo on this tour. Many managers, club owners and festival managers had tried unsuccessfully to get Monk away from the TV set in his living room to perform these classics again on stage.

All the old Monk favorites are on this double vinyl, “Just a Gigolo (a piano solo),” “Blue Monk,” “Epistrophy,” “Bemsha Swing,” and so on. They made audience and will make record collectors alike sit up and take notice.  Everything is at a very high standard. The very first track on the first side is one of the best blues Monk ever made: “Straight, No Chaser.” And the second track is “Panonica,” dedicated to Baroness Panonica “Nica” de Koenigswarter, who was at the concert and was a friend and patron of many great jazz musicians. Some of the album was originally released on a Columbia LP.

The Toykyo concerts were not without problems. Monk wanted to take a bath at various odd times, such as a few minutes before an important reception. He liked to wear a Chinese farmer’s hat both in the bath and onstage. He also arrived very late for some of the concerts.

Straight No Chaser; Panonica; Just a Gigolo; Evidence; Jackie-ing; Bemsha Swing; Epistrophy; I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You; Hackensack; Blue Monk; Epistrophy

—John Henry

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