Underground (Thelonious Monk album)

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Thelonious Monk-Underground (album cover).jpg
Studio album by Thelonious Monk
Released 1968
Recorded December 14 and 21, 1967; February 14, 1968
Genre Jazz
Length 37:23
Label Columbia
Producer Teo Macero
Thelonious Monk chronology
Straight, No Chaser
Monk's Blues
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 4/5 stars[2]

Underground is a 1968 album by Thelonious Monk. It features Monk on piano, Larry Gales on bass, Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, and Ben Riley on drums.

Although this album is most widely known for its provocative cover image, which depicts Monk as a fictitious French Resistance fighter in the Second World War, it contains a number of new Monk compositions, some of which appear in recorded form only on this album. This is the last Monk album featuring the Thelonious Monk Quartet, and the last featuring Charlie Rouse (who appears on only half the tracks, having missed a recording session to attend his father's funeral).


  • "Ugly Beauty" (titled "Pannonica" in earlier versions) is the only waltz among Thelonious Monk's recorded compositions.
  • "Raise Four" is a blues with an extraordinarily simple but dissonant melody.
  • "Boo Boo's Birthday" and "Green Chimneys" are named after Monk's daughter Barbara, Boo Boo being her nickname, and "Green Chimneys" being the name of the school she attended. "Boo Boo's Birthday" has an unorthodox structure, being 21 bars in length and having an unusual harmonic structure.
  • "In Walked Bud", first recorded in 1947, is based on the chord progression of "Blue Skies" and is dedicated to Monk's friend and fellow jazz pianist, Bud Powell. Jazz vocalese artist Jon Hendricks appears on this track, adding lyrics to the song's melody.

Track listing (later CD issue)[edit]

All songs composed by Thelonious Monk unless otherwise noted.

  1. "Thelonious" – 3:13
  2. "Ugly Beauty" – 3:17
  3. "Raise Four" – 5:47
  4. "Boo Boo's Birthday" – 5:56
  5. "Easy Street" (Alan Rankin Jones) – 5:53
  6. "Green Chimneys" – 9:00
  7. "In Walked Bud" (Jon Hendricks, Monk) – 4:17



  • Thelonious Monk – piano
  • Charlie Rouse – tenor saxophone
  • Larry Gales – bass
  • Ben Riley – drums
  • Jon Hendricks – vocals on "In Walked Bud"


  • Teo Macero – production
  • Tim Geelan – engineering
  • Horn Grinner Studios – photography
  • John Berg, Richard Mantel – art direction


  1. ^ Planer, Lindsay. Underground (Thelonious Monk album) at AllMusic
  2. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 145. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.