Just Released, a 1969 Thelonious Monk Recording Still Feels Fresh

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

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


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.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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