At Carnegie Hall (2005)
|Artist: Thelonious Monk|
|This never-before heard jazz classic documents one of the most historically important working bands in all of Jazz history, a band that was both short-lived and, until now, thought to be frustratingly under-recorded. The concert, which took place at the famed New York hall on November 29, 1957, was preserved on newly-discovered tapes made by Voice of America for a later radio broadcast that were located at the Library of Congress in Washington DC earlier this year.
Monk and Coltrane had been working together for a solid four months by the time they set foot on stage at Carnegie Hall that night. By all accounts, Coltrane had been tentative early on in the Five Spot run, challenged at first by Monk’s quirky melodies and chord changes, but the 51 minutes of music captured in pristine sound quality on At Carnegie Hall, present the quartet, which was completed by bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik and drummer Shadow Wilson, at the height of their powers.
The tapes from that evening at Carnegie Hall were inadequately labeled, filed away amongst the Voice of America’s vast collection of recordings, and apparently forgotten until January 2005 when Larry Applebaum, a supervisor and jazz specialist at the Library of Congress, came upon them by accident during the routine process of digitally transferring the Library’s collection for preservation purposes. Applebaum noticed a set of tapes simply labeled “sp. Event 11/29/57 carnegie jazz concert (#1),” with one of the tapes barring the sole marking “T. Monk.” Until now, remarkably little recorded documentation of Monk’s quartet with Coltrane has been known to exist, a fact that makes this finding all the more significant.
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano); John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass instrument); Shadow Wilson (drums).|
|Liner Note Authors: Larry Appelbaum; Robin D.G. Kelley; Ira Gitler; Lewis Porter; Amiri Baraka; Stanley Crouch; Ashley Kahn.|
|Recording information: Carnegie Hall, New York, NY (11/29/1957).|
|On paper it seems as if such titanic and distinctive musical personalities as Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane might not mix very well, but this stellar set, recorded live at Carnegie Hall in 1957, plays almost like a blissful extended duet between the two (with support from a sensitive yet hard-swinging bassist and drummer). The opener, "Monk's Mood," for example, features the composer/pianist's typically brilliant, idiosyncratic playing, while Coltrane floats over the top in the most lyrical of modes. Monk, in particular, is a master of tension-and-release tunefulness, creating rhythmic and harmonic intricacies that seem to spur Coltrane's saxophone exploration to new heights.|
|The quartet shines on ballads ("Sweet and Lovely"), but the leaders display their best chemistry on the Monk's thorny, uptempo bop numbers. "Evidence" and "Epistrophy," for instance," have Monk adding rhythmic, dissonant punctuation to Coltrane's torrential stream of ideas, creating a thrilling push-pull balance. A superb date, and a must for fans of both artists, AT CARNEGIE HALL captures two of jazz's most important figures working in perfect symbiosis.|
Producer: T.S. Monk; Michael Cuscuna; T.S. Monk; Michael Cuscuna
Associated Artists and Works
|Release Date : 09/27/2005|
|Original Release Date : 2005|
|Catalog ID : 35173|
|Label : Blue Note (Label)|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Live|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00094633517325|
- 4 out of 5 stars - "...What makes this set such a godsend, nearly fifty years later, is that we hear this brief legendary partnership at its best in a concert-hall setting, in stunning-for-its-day fidelity...."
- 5 stars out of 5 - "Coltrane takes the good bait, reeling off wave after wave of his harmonically stupendous lines, pushing himself harder than in any other contemporaneous situation."