Academic journal article Notes

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane

Academic journal article Notes

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane

Article excerpt

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane. At Carnegie Hall. Blue Note 35173, 2005.

The story behind this release is almost as wonderful as the music. In 1957, John Coltrane's drug use had become such a problem that he was fired by Miles Davis. He spent much of that year in Thelonious Monk's combo, trying (without much early success) to learn Monk's notoriously strange and difficult compositions and working out his various personal demons onstage at the Five Spot, where Monk had an ongoing engagement. The fact that none of these performances was ever recorded has been a matter of garment-rending regret in the jazz community ever since. However, in November of that year the Thelonious Monk Quartet (which included bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik and drummer Shadow Wilson) recorded two half-hour sets as part of an all-star benefit concert at Carnegie Hall that also featured Chet Baker, Zoot Sims, Billie Holiday, and Ray Charles, among others. These concerts actually were recorded, by Voice of America--but as luck would have it, the tapes were lost. Almost fifty years later, a supervisor in the recording lab at the Library of Congress was going through some old tapes that were slated for digitization, when he noticed a set of ten-inch acetate tapes in boxes labeled simply "Carnegie Hall Jazz 1957. …

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