OK, I’ll skip the T. Monk history lesson and get to the music. This classic stuff (recorded 1951-52) has been out on Blue Note before, but this time ‘round you get the original cover art of the 10" LP as well as the 12" LP, all the tunes are digitally remastered and all the alternate takes aren't placed next to the master takes. The term "Genius" has been used time and again, and when these tracks were first laid down, Monk was The Real Deal to some and a quack/goof to others. Time (and Monk’s considerable body of work) has vindicated him many times over, and the tunes here (and on Volume One) are where the Monk legacy/dynasty began. That alone would recommend this set, but hey, this is no history lesson. Contained herein are some of the niftiest gems of the post-WWII era of jazz, because of their fresh, audacious melodies, like "Four In One," where the partial origins of "classical" minimalism can be found (minimalist icon Steve Reich was a bebop fan) and "Hornin’ In," put across with élan and brainy swing, plus the neat/then-new trick Monk had of making rhythm function as melody.
Not only for the uniqueness and singular humor of his tunes was Monk the Boss - his hearty never-use-a-spray-of-notes-when-one-will-do style was/is one of the most distinctive sounds in jazz. In these tracks are the subliminal roadmaps for the future of jazz and more: the music of Ornette Coleman, Andrew Hill, Captain Beefheart, Cecil Taylor, Carla Bley, Robert Wyatt, Ran Blake, Joe Jackson, Steve Lacy and many others sprang from what Monk and company did back-when. It’s here for YOU and in beautifully remastered MONOphonic sound.