A full document of the genius of Thelonious Monk on Riverside Records – a late 50s stretch when the composer really came into his own – and delivered even more on the promise of his music than anyone would have expected just a few short years before! By the time of these albums, Monk was already a composer and pianist of some note – with some crucial recordings for Blue Note and Prestige under his belt. Yet at Riverside, he really got the chance to open up in so many different ways – move past the trio material that dominated his earlier years, and try out new modes that really exploded the sound of jazz for the modern generation – helping to bridge paths forward and back, introduce new voices to Monk's sonic spectrum, and lay the groundwork for creativity in the final years of his life. Some tracks are trio, a few are solo, but there's also really important work with horns – including tenor material by John Coltrane, Cole
man Hawkins, Johnny Griffin, and Sonny Rollins – as well as the formation of Monk's quartet with Charlie Rouse, which would dominate his Columbia Records material of the 60s. Even the drummers alone are great – a list that includes Art Taylor, Roy Haynes, Max
Roach, Kenny Clarke, and Art Blakey – and the set also features some trumpet work by Clark Terry at his hippest, plus Joe Gordon and Thad Jones. All albums come with original artwork, in small little LP-styled covers – and many feature bonus tracks too. Albums include Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington, Unique Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners, Thelonious Himself, Monk's Music, Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane, Mulligan Meets Monk, Thelonious In Action, Misterioso, At Town Hall, 5 By Monk By 5, Alone In San Francisco, At The Blackhawk, Monk In France, Thelonious Monk In Italy, and San Francisco Holiday.