Monday, December 4, 2017

Thelonious Monk, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 1964

For the 100th Thelonious Monk birthday year we have an issue of a rather obscure Monk studio session from Europe, 1964. It comes in the form of a deluxe 2-CD set. Les Liaisons Dangereuses features Monk with Barney Wilen and Charlie Rouse, plus Sam Jones and Art Taylor. A short version of the spiritual "We'll Understand it Better Bye and Bye" is one of the more unique features of this set, but there are others as well.

An unusual arrangement of "Light Blue" with an off-kilter drum part is also notable, here present in two different versions plus a set of rehearsal takes (the latter of which is not essential).

The band is definitely on it and Monk himself is in top form. We get several solo Monk versions of things and multiple takes of "Rhythm-a-Ning" of "Crepuscule with Nellie," a single take of "Six in One," two solo takes of "Pannonica" and two quartet takes, and so forth.

Any Monk fan will find all of this a delight. If they had left out the rehearsal takes of "Light Blue" it all would fit comfortably on a single CD. On the other hand a Monk devotee would hardly quibble about this, as the content is primo and a refreshing go for this period.

Therefore I do shout the praises of this offering! Monk ever lives.