Thelonious In Action! Misterioso was recorded live at the Five Spot Cafe in its original location in the Bowery in 1958. Thelonious Monk had ascended to become one of jazz’s most talked-about pianists, largely in part to his must-see residency at the club, and this record features recordings from his August 7th date (Thelonious In Action also features takes from this same date). Recorded with Roy Haynes on drums, Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass and tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, the quartet tear through Caesar and Casucci’s “Just A Gigolo” as well as a number of Monk originals (original LP liner notes: “It should be axiomatic that Monk is a constantly self-renewing composer-arranger-musician, that each new recording of an ‘old’ number, particularly with different personnel, represents a fresh view of it - almost a new composition”). This residency was a big deal for Monk, as a prior narcotics possession charge (Monk purportedly refused to snitch on Bud Powell, the true owner of the baggie in question) resulted in his cabaret card being revoked, so he was relegated to studio recordings for most of the 50s. Monk’s electrifying playing on this date is said to be a result of the enthusiasm from the crowd, and Griffin’s sax sound provides a unique counterpoint to Monk’s flamboyant playing, which is more often than not the focal point of his recordings. Sleeve design by Paul Bacon features Giorgio de Chirico’s 1915 painting The Seer; official Riverside pressing on black vinyl with liner notes.
- black vinyl pressing
- music label: Original Jazz Classics 2012
reviewed by nick nightingale 09/2019