Monk, Rollins and Some Really Fine Friends!...A Treasure Rem
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 11/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to : "Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]" CD - 2006
Okay so first things first, these recordings from the early 1950's sound like they were made yesterday. A fantastic job by Rudy Van Gelder, who was the original engineer, was at the sessions and knew exactly what the musicians wanted these great numbers to sound like. The CD runs about 35 minutes. There are 5 tracks all a good length from 5:09 to a get lost in 10:30 for Friday the 13th, which by the way was the date of one of the sessions that every thing seemed to go badly.
Every number and every musician on this CD are beyond great. Opening with the jazziest rendition(my new favorite) of "The Way You Look Tonight", Rollins takes the lead and already you are feeling the music. The other tracks are "I Want To Be Happy", "Work", "Nutty" and as mentioned "Friday The 13th". The leads differ with each number. Rollins plays on tracks 1,2 and 5. Monk is on every track and what an magnificent piano player. It really takes your breath away. Other musicians on the album are stand outs as well. Percy Heath on bass for 3 of the songs is incredible.Drummers, Arthur Taylor, Art Blakey and Willie Jones really cook. And I must make mention of Julius Watkins on the French Horn sitting in on "Friday The 13th". These guys, with their own wonderful styles, have these instruments talking and singing to each other. The listener will know exactly the mood and the conversation.
These were some important sessions that really preserve the greatness of Theolonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and friends.And how fortunate we are to be able to listen to them on this high quality recording,the remastering overseen by the Engineer who was there. The music will at the very least have you finger snapping and toe tapping. Take it in your car, it'll keep you good company in traffic, or around the house.The CD has a nice insert with production stories of the sessions.
I love it..You will too....laurie"
Marquee players, but look before you leap.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 02/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Because of the two principals, this session is likely to receive ongoing reincarnations, never going out of print. But the title is somewhat deceptive. Rollins and Monk play together on 3 of the 5 tracks on the album, which comprises three separate recording sessions held between Nov. 1953 and Sept. 1954. Moreover, on "The Way You Look Tonight" Monk plays a mere half chorus, and in a fairly conventional bebop style at that. This leaves two tunes, "I Want to Be Happy" and "Friday the 13th," on which the two inimitable soloists contrast and complement one another's strong musical personalities.
The proceedings are enjoyable, frequently original and illuminating, but not as telepathic, or even miraculous, as some reviewers have described them. It's instructive to hear the "real" Monk emerge on "Happy," allowing the beat to establish itself before playing off of and around it, making the piano another polyrhythmic, percussive voice as opposed to a solo voice accompanied by rhythm section or a member of the accompanying team itself (these latter two roles characterizing his work on "Way You Look").
Still, I'm afraid that after hearing the Monk and Coltrane Carnegie Hall concert, this one is anticlimactic, sonically as well as musically. Moreover, Rollins, though bearing some of the same melodic-rhythmic qualities of his successor Charlie Rouse, lacks the light articulations and responsive quickness of the underrated Rouse. Compared to Rouse's sportive playfulness, Rollins sounds somewhat heavy and ponderous to me in Monk country. Coltrane's intensity meshes better with Monk whimsy because the piano serves as both ground and foil to the altissimo, rapturous flights of the tenor saxophone, as though Monk's solid harmonies are the falconer around which the falcon's spiraling harmonies are free to expend themselves without spinning out of control.
Blakey and Monk, both of whom are heard here, always made for an engaging rhythmic pairing, but this session leaves you wanting to hear more. An unfortunately overlooked recording (perhaps because it was on the "wrong" label) is "Thelonious Monk with Art Blakey" (Atlantic, 1957), which also features excellent trumpet work by the sadly underrecorded Bill Hardman. It's a fascinatiing duel between two equally strong-minded music-shapers, and though Blakey delivers his brand of overwhelming firepower, Monk doesn't yield an inch--in fact, both players emerge as winners but not before a Titanic struggle."