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Monk's Music

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Monk's Music
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 1957 (1957-11)[1][2]
RecordedJune 25–26, 1957
StudioReeves Sound Studio, New York City
GenreHard bop
LabelRiverside Records
ProducerOrrin Keepnews
Thelonious Monk chronology
Thelonious Himself
Monk's Music
Mulligan Meets Monk
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[6]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings[7]

Monk's Music is a jazz album by the Thelonious Monk Septet, which for this recording included Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane. It was recorded in New York City on June 26, 1957, and released in November the same year.[1][2]

Recording and music[edit]

The first song, "Abide With Me"—a hymn by W. H. Monk—is played only by the septet's horn section. The song "Ruby, My Dear" is performed only by Monk, Coleman Hawkins, Wilbur Ware, and Art Blakey. John Coltrane had joined Monk after playing with the Miles Davis Quintet, and Monk can be heard enthusiastically calling on him ("Coltrane! Coltrane!") to take the first horn solo on the album in "Well, You Needn't." All of the tracks except "Abide With Me" are original compositions by Monk; all of the originals but "Crepuscule with Nellie" had previously appeared on record. This is the only record where Hawkins and Blakey recorded together.

Mono vis-à-vis stereo[edit]

This was the first Riverside Thelonious Monk album recorded and released in both mono (RLP 12-242) and stereo (RLP 1102). The stereo version was released nine months after the mono release, in August 1958.[8] It has been noted that the mixes of these releases are extremely different. The stereo mix, while featuring the same performances as does the mono version, used an entirely different set of microphones, suspended from the ceiling, while the mono release used microphones in closer proximity to the instruments. As a result, the stereo mix has a more distant sound and Wilbur Ware's bass is much less audible.[9]

Producer Orrin Keepnews explained:

Our new stereo series had begun with a sound effects disc, so Riverside 1102 [Monk's Music] was our first stereo jazz album. But we had to deal with the fact that the studio had not yet taken the drastic step of converting to the new process: the installed equipment at Reeves Sound Studios (on 2nd Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets in Manhattan) was still monaural. Thus, we had to improvise a dual system. Studio engineer Jack Higgins presided at his usual control panel; our staff engineer Ray Fowler was in the soundproof isolation booths in the studio with a newfangled portable stereo tape recorder. Thus, on this and several subsequent occasions, ‘binaural’ was an entirely separate operation. Among other things, every musician found himself surrounded by a doubled quantity of microphones.”[10]

In the notes to the 1986 Riverside Monk box, Keepnews wrote: "This was one of our very first stereo recordings (although the separate machine failed us on Crepuscule); confusingly, the monaural version has sometimes been used in reissues, but I have managed to include here in stereo form everything that is available in that form."[11]

The original stereo LP release did not list "Crepuscule with Nellie" on its label or cover track listing, although it was referenced in the liner notes, and did not include it on the album. A mid-1960s stereo re-release with serial number RLP 12-9242 also skipped "Crepuscule with Nellie", even though it was listed on the label and cover (as "Crepescule with Nellie" [sic]). The 1967 "stereo" pressing (RS 3004) distributed by ABC Records was an "electronically reprocessed" version of the mono mix. A 1977 Japanese vinyl version appears to be the first true stereo release that also includes the mono recording of "Crepuscule with Nellie".[12]


The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.[13]


The album was reissued by Original Jazz Classics on July 1, 1991.

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Thelonious Monk unless otherwise noted.

Side A

  1. "Abide with Me" (Henry Francis Lyte, William Henry Monk) – 0:54
  2. "Well, You Needn't" – 11:24
  3. "Ruby, My Dear" – 5:26

Side B

  1. "Off Minor" – 5:07
  2. "Epistrophy" (Monk, Kenny Clarke) – 10:46
  3. "Crepuscule With Nellie" – 4:38

CD reissue

  1. "Abide With Me" – 0:54
  2. "Well, You Needn't" – 11:24
  3. "Ruby, My Dear" – 5:26
  4. "Off Minor (Take 5)" – 5:07
  5. "Off Minor (Take 4)" – 5:12
  6. "Epistrophy" – 10:46
  7. "Crepuscule with Nellie (Take 6)" – 4:38
  8. "Crepuscule with Nellie (Take 4 and 5)" – 4:43

Original Jazz Classics Remasters

  1. "Abide With Me" – 0:54
  2. "Well, You Needn't" – 11:24
  3. "Ruby, My Dear" – 5:26
  4. "Off Minor (Take 5)" – 5:07
  5. "Epistrophy" – 10:46
  6. "Crepuscule with Nellie (Take 6)" – 4:38
  7. "Off Minor (Take 4)" – 5:12
  8. "Crepuscule with Nellie (Takes 4 and 5)" – 4:43
  9. "Blues for Tomorrow" – 13:32



  1. ^ a b DeVito, Chris; Fujioka, Yasuhiro; Schmaler, Wolf; Wild, David (2013). Porter, Lewis (ed.). The John Coltrane Reference. New York/Abingdon: Routledge. p. 473. ISBN 9780415634632. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Jazz LPs". The Billboard. Cincinnati: Billboard Publishing Co. 28 October 1957. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  3. ^ Planer, Lindsay. Monk's Music at AllMusic
  4. ^ Ratliff, Ben (12 March 2017). "Monk's Music". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  5. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 145. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  7. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 1021. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  8. ^ Editorial Staff, Cash Box (August 9, 1958). "August Album Releases" (PDF). The Cash Box. New York: The Cash Box Publishing Co. Inc. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Thelonious Monk Monk's Music (1957) Riverside". 14 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Craft Recordings".
  11. ^ "SACD of Monk's Music is Stereo!!!!". 11 October 2004.
  12. ^ "Roots Vinyl Guide".
  13. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame". Grammy.org. Retrieved 30 January 2015.

External links[edit]