Thelonious Monk Trio

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Thelonious Monk Trio
Thelonious Monk Trio.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedOctober 15 and December 18, 1952; September 22, 1954
Thelonious Monk chronology
Genius of Modern Music: Volume 2
Thelonious Monk Trio

Thelonious Monk Trio is an album by American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. It was originally released in 1954 as Monk's first proper studio album and has been re-released numerous times, occasionally under the title Monk's Moods and with different track orders.

The album features his earliest recordings for the Prestige label performed with bassist Gary Mapp (originally credited as "Gerry Mapp"), either Art Blakey or Max Roach on drums, and one track with Percy Heath replacing Mapp.[1] It also contains the earliest recorded versions of the jazz standards "Blue Monk" and "Bemsha Swing".


Thelonious Monk Trio was originally released in 1954 as Monk's first proper studio album. It follows the release of his two Genius of Modern Music compilations—the first volume in 1951 and the second volume in 1952. The record has since been re-released numerous times on different formats usually with its original title, although occasionally as Monk's Moods. On some of its re-releases, Thelonious Monk Trio had a track listing order different from the original, which opens with "Little Rootie Tootie". The album features the first recorded performances of "Blue Monk" and "Bemsha Swing".[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Retrospective professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[3]
MSN MusicA+[4]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz3.5/4 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide4/5 stars[7]

Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. of AllMusic called the album "intimate, intense, and inspired ... 35 minutes of professional musicians practicing their craft", and wrote that, although they were "pieced together from three different sessions," the recordings' "small settings ... allow the necessary space for Monk's explorations, which conjure up images of a mathematician working out geometric patterns on the keyboard."[3] BBC Music's Charles de Ledesma commented that "the various personnel make little difference to the overall effect – Monk throughout offers a sumptious flow of melody, punctuation, nuance and charm."[8]

Chris May of All About Jazz dubbed Thelonious Monk Trio "immortal, stratospheric music ... amongst the most eternal of his albums" and stated, "At this period like no other, Monk's rhythmic attack packed the power of an express train."[9] Sputnikmusic's Alex Robertson said that "even when Monk gets nutty, as on the brutally virtuosic 'Trinkle, Tinkle,' the album's appeal lies not in his 'sabotage' of popular music but his ability to turn it into something invigoratingly weird, two approaches often conflated when looking back on the work of an inventive musician."[2] In MSN Music, Robert Christgau said the record offers "the not so common chance to hear Monk as a solely featured soloist with a rhythm section", with drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach performing like "co-stars".[4]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Thelonious Monk, except where noted.

  1. "Little Rootie Tootie" - 3:06
  2. "Sweet and Lovely" (Gus Arnheim, Jules LeMare, Harry Tobias) - 3:33
  3. "Bye-Ya" - 2:46
  4. "Monk's Dream" - 3:07
  5. "Trinkle, Tinkle" - 2:49
  6. "These Foolish Things" (Harry Link, Holt Marvell, Jack Strachey) - 2:46
  7. "Blue Monk" - 7:39
  8. "Just a Gigolo" (Julius Brammer, Irving Caesar, Leonello Casucci) - 3:00
  9. "Bemsha Swing" (Thelonious Monk, Denzil Best) - 3:10
  10. "Reflections" - 2:48
  • Recorded in New York City on October 15 (tracks 1-4), December 18 (tracks 5, 6, 9 & 10), 1952 and September 22, 1954 (tracks 7 & 8)
  • Recording engineer: Rudy van Gelder (tracks 7&8 ) & unknown (tracks 1-6, 9-10)
  • "Gerry Mapp" is the name listed on the original record, but in fact the name of the bass player on these sides is Gary Mapp.



  1. ^ Thelonious Monk discography accessed 9 October 2009
  2. ^ a b c Robertson, Alex (30 July 2013). "Album Review - Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Monk Trio". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b Lankford, Jr., Ronnie D. "Thelonious Monk Trio - Thelonious Monk, Thelonious Monk Trio". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (December 21, 2012). "Thelonious Monk". MSN Music. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  5. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2002). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (6th ed.). Penguin Books. p. 1050. ISBN 0140515216.
  6. ^ Marsh, Dave (December 1979). The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1st ed.). Random House. ISBN 0394410963.
  7. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 141. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  8. ^ de Ledesma, Charles (July 5, 2007). "Review of Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Monk Trio". BBC Music. BBC. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  9. ^ May, Chris (July 1, 2007). "Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Monk Trio (2007)". All About Jazz. Retrieved December 21, 2012.

External links[edit]