Monk and Coltrane

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KrisM, Oct 21, 2002.

  1. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    I know that John Coltrane played with Monk for about a year around 1957. Did they record together? Any info on the availibilty of any sessions would be great. ie performance and sound quality.

    Thanks
    KrisM
     
  2. DonaldB

    DonaldB Supporting Actor

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    Riverside has a compilation called Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane, which is an essential document for any fan of these two artists. The same songs are also included in the massive Complete Riverside Recordings, a pricey-but-worth-it box set.
    Blue Note has a live recording called Live at the Five Spot featuring the two together. The performances are merely fine and the sound quality is unimpressive.
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    The seminal recording is simply called Thelonious Monk w/ John Coltrane, on Prestige. It is one of those CDs that got the "K-20 remastered" treatment and the slipcase packaging (an orange one, in this case).

    What can I say- a marvelous album. It's fascinating to hear Coltrane's playing w/ Miles before and after Monk.
     
  4. Peter_A_M

    Peter_A_M Stunt Coordinator

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    If you like to listen to John Coltrane, I'd avoid "Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane" altogether. The sound quality is substandard, Coltrane's performance is average at best, and, worst of all, Coltrane only plays on three of the six tracks: Ruby, My Dear, Trinkle, Tinkle, and Epistrophy. The other three tracks feature Monk and some big band playing what I believe to be Monk compositions.

    I bought the CD because I'm somewhat of a completionist, but even now I wish I'd saved the money and gotten a flamenco CD or something. They're both great musicians in their own right, but they had two entirely different concepts even then and never really came together on anything.

    NP: Paco de LucĂ­a - Luzia
     
  5. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    Wow! Those last two posts couldn't be any more opposite. Are these the only two recordings available? I saw the live one today at A&B Sound while looking for the Stones SACDS(and no they are STILL not avaiable here[​IMG] ), and the back said something about being recorded with one mic in the audience and there being many audio drop-outs. I passed on it. Maybe I'll check out the library to see if they have Monk With Coltrane, and give it a listen before I buy.
    Thanks
    KrisM
    NP - Chris Robinson - New Earth Mud
     
  6. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    Live at the Five Spot is bootleg quality, but as a Coltrane collector I think it's worth picking up. The Monk-Coltrane set is leftovers from the album Monk's Music, which is a must have!
     
  7. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    So I can assume that Coltrane plays on Monk's Music?

    Thanks
    KrisM
     
  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Kris, Coltrane does play on Monk's Music, sharing sax duties with the man who pretty much invented jazz sax lead playing, Coleman Hawkins. It's a fantastic joy to hear them playing together, and Monk's Music is one of my favorites.

    I think Peter and I disagree on Monk & Coltrane because I'm looking at it as a Monk album. As he said, 'Trane plays on only half the tracks. If you look at it as a Monk album with Coltrane as a guest on a couple of tracks, you're good to go. As for 'Trane's playing- sure, it's not his most steady, as this was a purposefully experimental time for him. Consistency was not his strong point. 'Trane could have remarkable moments of brilliance interlaced with long stretches of nothing. But for some aficionados, this is all part of the fun. For a fan and a curious listener, there is a lot of cool stuff to hear on that album. And for a Monk fan, well, we can never get enough of his music anyway.

    I don't have the Five Spot album unfortunatey, but I have heard it. I actually enjoy the audio drop outs and audience chatter- it has a certain charm. It's basically like listening to a good bootleg.
     
  9. Peter_A_M

    Peter_A_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Kris,

    It does depend on how you look at the album. I'd bought it with the impression that Coltrane was featured in every track, but it is exactly what Mike said - a Monk album with Coltrane as the sideman. I'd hoped to hear soloing on the level of Blue Train or Lush Life, but his style was in a transition from pure bebop to something original. You can almost hear Coltrane trying to reconcile the post-bop style with his sheets-of-sound approach, but he never quite gets there in this album.

    However, Monk was a significant influence on Coltrane during this period. It was with Monk that Coltrane began to explore multiphonics and multitextured tones, two devices that helped to form a foundation for the style he had yet to invent, and certain harmonic ideas that would "take him out of the ordinary path." I'd see if you can listen to a copy of this CD or somehow find a way to listen to the tracks at lower fidelities. It's not an recording that'd easily agree with most listeners. For the listeners that are 'Trane fans, anyway.
     
  10. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    Thanks guys. Considering it was '57 or so I wasn't expecting Coltrane ala Crescent or A Love Supreme, but I do enjoy his playing from his first go-around with Miles, so I think I'll check these out. Considering I have alot of purchases coming up, which should I start with?

    Thanks
    KrisM

    NP - Thelonious Monk - Straight No Chaser SACD
     
  11. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    You can't go wrong with Monk's Music. Both the album and Monk's music in general.
     

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