LIGHT BLUE - By Thelonious Monk COMING ON THE HUDSON - By Thelonious Monk
this EP is an excerpt of Riverside RLP 12-262 THELONIOUS IN ACTION: This is the first time that THELONIOUS MONK has been recorded ‘live’ out of the studio. Perhaps the most immediately apparent difference is that Monk on the job seems more interested in himself as a pianist, as a performer, as (and this is very much a part of this artist) a showman. There is also, of course, the give-and-take of audience reaction: applause, conversation, the comings and goings of a typical Five-Spot crowd (made up in various percentages of neoBohemian types who live nearby. musicians, jazz fans, the merely curious-and those who manage to combine more than one of these categories.)
Monk had worked from summer, 1957, through the rest of the year at the Five Spot, where he was regularly drawing overflow crowds. After a breather, he was brought back in late spring of '58. The crowds and their enthusiasm were as great, or greater. The group, however, was changed. The original quartet, with John Coltrane on tenor, Wilbur Ware bass, Shadow Wilson, drums, had never been recorded as a unit because of various complications (largely contractual), a drastic oversight that it is hoped may someday be remedied. The present group is, of course, not the same, nor does it sound the same, nor could it. Monk himself is a constantly changing artist; also, he is amazingly sensitive to the nature of the men he works with. To a large degree, Thelonious molds any group he leads into his pattern; but it is important to recognize that the pattern he builds for a particular group comprehends and utilizes the specific values of the men with him. Aside from the basic fact that both are modern tenormen of outstanding talents, Johnny Griffin and John Coltrane art: not the same man, and Monk is fully aware of this. Whether a particular listener likes one or the other ‘better’, is quite beside the point; the point is that this group is the Monk quartet with Griffin, and its approach: style and even repertoire (all within the overall Monk pattern) clearly show that. This is especially true for the two recent Monk compositions recorded here for the first time, Coming On The Hudson and Light Blue.