Lovingly remastered version of Thelonious Monk's penultimate studio album. Underground was Monk's last album to feature his 1960s quartet of Charlie Rouse, Ben Riley and Larry Gales, as well as one of his last recordings before slipping into the decade long hibernation that preceded his death in 1982. It may most be remembered by the jazz cognoscenti for its cover: Monk sitting at an old piano in a dingy attic, toting a machine gun, surrounded by grenades, ammo, and other artifacts of the French underground (including a Nazi prisoner tied to a chair in the background). After signing to Columbia Records in 1962, Monk's output had diminished. Most of his recordings for the label were rehashes of songs he'd previously recorded. But Underground marked a breakthrough for Monk. It was the first of his albums for Columbia to feature a majority of newly composed and previously unrecorded songs. They're more intricate than some of his most widely known material. A sign that even as his career was coming to a close Monk was still pushing the envelope. 180 gram pressing remastered from the original master recordings.
- music label: ORG Music 2014
reviewed by Hank Ohs 07/2014