My favorite Monk album
Maxim | MD, USA | 05/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is an internet clip of Monk playing "Straight, No Chaser" at a concert. Playing with both hands, that is. At some point, he needs to play the keys to his extreme right. Rather than shift his hands over to his right side to compensate, HE REACHES ACROSS WITH HIS LEFT HAND OVER HIS RIGHT HAND and continues to play without missing a beat! Someone remarked that this is very, very hard to do. I guess it has to do with how the mind works. Try reaching over with your left foot on the gas while driving in rush hour traffic, and you get the point. Remember he is at a concert, where mistakes could be magnified. That is the best analogy I can come with.
Why do I say this? He was so unusual, yet so talented. Monk is pure genius. And you can't teach genius. He, along with Larry Gales, Charlie Rouse and Ben Riley held nothing back on this album. Rouse is often said to be underrated. In this album, you hear why. In the "Japanese Folk Song" and "We See," you hear the sheer power of his sax. If he was no Coltrane or Charlie Parker, then he is right up there.
Even though I had no idea what to expect when I bought it, this is easily my favorite Monk album. And that's saying a lot. I have my fair share of Monk CDs. This might be heresy, but I think I prefer this album to Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue." I agree with someone here that the Japanese Folk Song is worth the price of the CD alone. How each of the guys does his solo and hands over to the next guy is breathtaking. If you don't have this album folks, run and get it. I mean it."