365 Days of Album Recommendations – Apr 15

Thelonious Monk – Plays Duke Ellington

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It’s a sad and beautiful world, isn’t it? And a strange one, that at one time Monk should have been thought so difficult, that he had to be made to play Ellington to get a record out.

That wouldn’t prove to be a problem, of course, because Monk loved Ellington, though he preferred his own compositions by and large—and rightly so.

Given the incomparable richness of these recordings, it’s hard to remember sometimes it’s just a trio:

Thelonious Monk – piano
Oscar Pettiford – bass
Kenny Clarke – drums

The album is honestly perfection, but it’s also a “bridge” record between his early Blue Note days, and the still-two-albums-away Brilliant Corners—a certified masterpiece.

Ultimately, the record is an exquisite opportunity to kick back and swing with the greatest playing the greatest.


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