A pair of classic live albums! First up is Thelonious Monk Orchestra At Town Hall – a unique large group effort from Thelonious Monk – but one that bristles with all the angular energy of his other great work for Riverside
! The group here is a tentet – filled with excellent players who include Donald Byrd, Phil Woods, Pepper Adams, Eddie Bert, Robert Northern, and Charlie Rouse – all supported by rhythm from the team of Sam Jones on bass and Art Taylor on drums, possibly one of the key factors for the success of the record! The album's comprised of Monk classics like "Little Rootie Tootie", "Thelonious", "Friday The 13th", "Off Minor", "Crepuscule with Nellie" and "Monk's Mood" – all arranged by Hall Overton, a little-remembered modernist from the 50s, but one with a keen dedication towards pushing new sounds from old formats! Overton really keeps the spirit of Monk's music intact here – penning charts that allow for plenty of solo space and the kind of cross-trading lines you'd hear in some of Monk's best multi-horn small group sides for Riverside
! Next is Thelonious Monk Quartet Plus Two At The Blackhawk – a stunning pre-Columbia session from Thelonious Monk – a really great live date that has Monk's familiar quartet augmented by west coast players Joe Gordon on trumpet and Harold Land on tenor! Given that Charlie Rouse is already in the group on tenor, the addition of Land's horn makes for a very soulful set – and Gordon's one of those players we love whenever we get a chance to hear him on record, which isn't that often, given how few sessions he cut! Other players include John Ore on bass and Billy Higgins on drums – and titles include "Four In One", "Let's Call This", and "Worry Later".