Thelonius Monk

Monk in Paris: Live at the Olympia

This, the first release of music from Monk’s archives, on the label co-founded by his son, Monk Jr., features his quartet (long-time tenor man Charlie Rouse, bassist Larry Gales and drummer Ben Riley) on seven tunes from a 1965 Olympia Theater gig in Paris and a three-track DVD recorded at a 1966 Oslo concert. John Coltrane, who worked a summer with Monk, once said, “Everything fits so well in Monk’s work, once you get to see the inside.” Here you get the “outside” too, as the spoken introduction informs us, “You haven’t heard Monk until you’ve seen him.” Truer words were never spoken, for Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-82) was an idiosyncratic pianist whose music is filled with dissonance and humor, jagged runs and crunched chords. Here Monk et al. rip through the music with muscular authority. Highlights: “Rhythm-A-Ning” from the Olympia and “Blue Monk” from Oslo. Marvelous goods!