In the late 50s and early 60s, jazz was the soundtrack of the hip young world, and all of the greats were being tapped to soundtrack the new wave of film: Mingus scored John Cassavetes’ Shadows; Miles scored Ascenseur Pour L’Échafaud. When universally-respected pianist Thelonious Monk was approached by Roger Vadim to score Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1959, he didn’t have the luxury of time to compose original pieces for the film, so he pulled up some of his best-known songs to date. Two compositions are lifted from 1957’s Monk’s Music: “Well, You Needn’t” and “Crepuscule With Nellie” (as in Nellie Monk, his wife), said to be Monk’s only through-composed, non-improvised composition. “Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are” and three renditions of “Pannonia” are borrowed from Brilliant Corners. Check out Monk’s cool, effortless bop on “Rhythm-A-Ning” (originally composed for Monk & Gerry Mulligan’s Mulligan Meets Monk). He's backed by a few familiar faces; Art Taylor on drums, Sam Jones on bass and Monk regular Charlie Rouse on tenor sax. For this session, Monk recruited French saxophonist Barney Wilen for a second tenor, and thank god he did, or else these recordings might not have ever seen the light of day: the tapes were thought to be lost forever until Wilen found them in his archives. This vinyl pressing includes a printed 4-page insert containing photos from the session and an essay by Robin D.G. Kelly. Recommended.
- includes 4 page printed insert
- music label: Sam Records 2017
reviewed by nick nightingale 01/2018