Just Released, a 1969 Thelonious Monk Recording Still Feels Fresh

Monk performs in Paris.Pierre Leloir courtesy of Blue Note Records

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Thelonious Monk
Paris 1969
Blue Note

By 1969, the great jazz pianist Thelonious Monk was in many ways past his creative prime. Once a leader of the vanguard, he was now one of the music’s elders, and his core repertoire had remained essentially the same for many years, with no new ground left to break.

None of this should deter Monk fanatics from digging the highly entertaining Paris 1969, previously unreleased recordings from a French TV show. However familiar, songs like the playful “Epistrophy” and the tender “Ruby My Dear” remain fresh and inviting. Monk and his longtime sidekick, tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, still find tantalizing wrinkles in time-tested melodies, while the much-younger, albeit less accomplished, rhythm section of bassist Nate Hygelund and drummer Paris Wright injects a welcome shot of energy. Along with the CD, there’s a DVD of the performances, plus an interview, but the music itself—encompassing old-school stride and angular reinventions of classic melodies—is its own deeply satisfying reward, requiring no visual aids.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate