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Thelonious Monk: Underground

Track List

>Ugly Beauty
>Raise Four
>Boo Boo's Birthday [Take 11] - (take)
>Easy Street
>Green Chimney's
>In Walked Bud
>Ugly Beauty [Take 4] - (take)
>Boo Boo's Birthday [Take 2] - (take)
>Thelonious [Take 3] - (take)

Album Notes

Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); Jon Hendricks (vocals); Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone); Larry Gales (bass); Ben Riley (drums).

Recorded at Columbia Studios, New York, New York on December 14 & 21, 1967 and February 14 & December 14, 1968. Includes liner notes by Peter Keepnews.

This is part of the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces series.

UNDERGROUND was the first Monk album in a decade to present new compositions by the artist. It is also the last album recorded with his classic quartet, featuring tenorist Charlie Rouse and the Ben Riley/Larry Gales rhythm section. Famous for its fun cover art (Monk is depicted in a French Resistance hideout at the piano with a machine gun slung over his shoulder, as a grumpy Nazi general looks on from the background), UNDERGROUND is truly one of Monk's finest offerings.

His singular weave of angularity, swing, sweetness and simplicity appears everywhere. "Ugly Beauty," one of the new tunes, is a waltzing ballad. From the soft, lilting head to Rouse's blowing, there's as much lemon in the honey as the title suggests. "Raise Four" is a spacious blues, with Monk forming lean, expressive lines from its already-spare melody. This and "In Walked Bud" are prime examples of Monk's repetition of a line through the chord changes as a way of parading its various harmonic faces. The latter track is made quite evocative with the impromptu addition of singer Jon Hendricks' lyrics.


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