The Unique Thelonious Monk

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The Unique Thelonious Monk
Studio album by Thelonious Monk
Released 1956
Recorded March 17 and April 3, 1956
Genre Jazz
Label Riverside
Producer Orrin Keepnews
Thelonious Monk chronology
Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington
(1955)
The Unique Thelonious Monk
(1956)
Brilliant Corners
(1957)
Original cover
Cover of the original 1956 release. The above cover was used for pressings from 1958 onward.[1]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [2]

The Unique Thelonious Monk is a 1956 album from Thelonious Monk, his second for Riverside Records and like his Riverside debut, is made up of standards. It was a continuation of Riverside's strategy to broaden consumer interest in Monk by having him record cover versions of well-known material which, Riverside hoped, would help to break down the prevailing perception that Monk's original music was "too difficult" for mass-market acceptance.

Though composed solely of standards, The Unique Thelonious Monk contains strong performances from both Thelonious and his band members, Art Blakey and Oscar Pettiford. The album itself, however, is often overlooked by documentaries of Monk's career and is little heard. The Riverside publicist Billie Wallington used a marketing ploy, at the time of the first re-issue, of mass-printing the stamp featured on the cover art. Riverside distributed sheets of 100 stamps, some of which even made their way through the United States Postal Service despite being larger than regulation size. Standard stamps of the era were under an inch wide and high; the Monk stamp is 1-9/16" high by 1-3/8" wide. In 1956 it took a 3-cent stamp to carry a 1st Class letter. Riverside's Monk stamp had a 3 in the lower left and a 3-1/3 in the lower right. The stamps are scarce today.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)" (George & Ira Gershwin, Gus Kahn) – 3:11
  2. "Memories of You" (Eubie Blake, Andy Razaf) – 4:15
  3. "Honeysuckle Rose" (Fats Waller, Andy Razaf) – 5:32
  4. "Darn That Dream" (Eddie DeLange, James Van Heusen) – 6:30
  5. "Tea for Two" (Vincent Youmans, Irving Caesar) – 5:52
  6. "You Are Too Beautiful" (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) – 4:53
  7. "Just You, Just Me" (Jesse Greer, Raymond Klages) – 7:59

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kelley, Robin D.G. (2009). Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original. New York: Free Press. p. 249. 
  2. ^ Planer, Lindsay. The Unique Thelonious Monk at AllMusic