Angular Monk meets hard-driving Art Blakey
– in a session that's quite unique, and which has gone onto become one of the best-remembered Atlantic jazz sessions of the late 50s! The album features Blakey
in that key non-Blue Note year of 1957 – a time when he was working with a variety of players, at a variety of labels, and taking some real chances with his music before settling into his more established hit Jazz Messengers sound. The group here is Art
's own – with Johnny Griffin on tenor, Bill Hardman on trumpet, and Spanky DeBrest on bass – augmented by the piano of Thelonious Monk – a match that might seem unlikely at first, but not so much so after you consider the great work that Monk and Griffin did together at Riverside during the late 50s. There's a nice match between Johnny's sharp-edged tenor and Monk's imaginative playing – and if anything, the record has Blakey
, Hardman, and DeBrest moving dynamically to keep up with the flurry of modern ideas coming from Griffin and Monk! Tracks are almost all originals by Thelonious too – a fact that definitely helps keep up the "Monk-ish" sound of the record – titles that include "Evidence", "Blue Monk", "I Mean You", and "Rhythm A Ning" – alongside Griffin's "Purple Shades". Includes bonus alternate takes of "Evidence", "Blue Monk", and "I Mean You".
(Atlantic Jazz Gallery pressing in a cardboard digipack.)