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ghost of miles

New Thelonious Monk album

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Apologies if there's a previous thread--my initial search didn't turn one up.  There's been some discussion of this somewhere on the board before, but here's a press release that went out today:

Hello!
 
As I'm sure you know, 2017 marks Thelonious Monk's centennial. 

I'm very happy to be working with Sam Records/Saga on a newly discovered Monk studio album titled Thelonious Monk: Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960.  It's the never-before released soundtrack to the Roger Vadim film Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960 and contains solo, trio and quartet performances of classic Monk tunes heard in the film.

Monk was at the height of his powers when he entered Nola Penthouse Studios in New York City on July 27, 1959 to record several of his best-known compositions for use as the predominant soundtrack of the film. Never before had Monk recorded music to be used in a film.

Monk biographer Robin D.G. Kelley notes: "It is not too much to suggest that Monk transformed what would have been an edgy but relative standard narrative film into avant-garde cinema." 

The recording – featuring Monk's 1959 all-star working band of Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones and Art Taylor, plus special guest French saxophonist Barney Wilen – will be available:

– As a 2 LP limited edition deluxe box set on Record Store Day, April 22, 2017

– The CD and digital version will be available on May 19, 2017 

As T.S. Monk says:   "This is a marvelous release. Thelonious is at his best, with a wonderful array of his best friends, including Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones, and Art Taylor! And there are new tunes too! If you love Monk, you'll surely love this original soundtrack to the award winning French cinema classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The entire Monk family is delighted to partner with Sam Records/Saga to make this release possible."
 
The project includes a 50-page booklet with original artwork by Jerome Witz, essays by acclaimed jazz writers Robin D.G. Kelley, Brian Priestley and Alain Tercinet, as well as a complete discography compiled by Daniel Richard, plus never-before-published color and black-and-white photographs and memorabilia from the recording session. Deluxe 2LP 180-gram vinyl set transferred and mastered from the original session tapes by Francois Le Xuan at Studio 101, with lacquers cut by Benjamin Joubert at Biduloscope Mastering and pressed by Pallas in Germany.
 
Producer Zev Feldman writes:

"In December of 2014 I was visiting Paris and received a very charming introductory email out of the blue from the head of Sam Records, Mr. Fred Thomas explaining that he and his friend, Mr. Francois Le Xuan of Saga Jazz (producer of the acclaimed 'Jazz In Paris' series) had located master tapes of a previously unissued studio session of Thelonious Monk made in 1959 by a French producer (the one and only Marcel Romano: Miles Davis' "Ascenseur pour l'échafaud.") I was obviously extremely intrigued, and I believe my eyeballs literally left my face upon reading the news. Are you kidding me?! A STUDIO album?!! This was an extraordinary find and I wanted to know more.

"We would met up several days later at le Café de l'Olympia over coffee where we got to know each other and discussed this extraordinary find. Fred and Francois were looking for a partner and needed someone who knew the Monk family and was a fellow kindred spirit who shared a passion to present this find in a presentation worthy of a giant. I was honored they were familiar with my work and thought I would be a good fit and collaborator. As we spoke at the cafe, it became clear, we were all three guys cut from the same cloth who loved jazz, an international language in itself.

"Over the next two years, we worked with the Thelonious Monk estate and set out to assemble the cast of voices/words (and photos) to bring together and tell the story of this amazing event in Thelonious Monk's recorded legacy. It just might be one of the greatest journeys and highlights of my life. I'd like to thank the Thelonious Monk Estate for making this project possible, especially T.S. Monk and Gale Monk. I'd also like to thank the rest of the Monk team including Thelonious Monk's grandchildren, Sierre Monk & Thelonious Monk IV, plus Team Monk's Denise Pruitt-Grant, & Julion St. Hill. Finally, I'd like to thank my co-producers Fred Thomas & Francois Le Xuan for inviting me on this journey which I will never forget. And thanks to all of you for supporting this music."
 
I hope you'll be interested in doing a piece on this.  Zev Feldman, T.S. Monk and others are available for interviews. 
 
All the best,
 
Ann
 

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If this is good, it might get me to visit a record store on Record Store Day.

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Interesting!

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, ghost of miles said:

Apologies if there's a previous thread--my initial search didn't turn one up.  There's been some discussion of this somewhere on the board before, but here's a press release that went out today:

 
 

Yes there is ... discussed there only a short while ago:  ;)

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Posted (edited)

I saw the film in Paris in 1960 and still recall the eerie atmosphere that repeated renderings of "Pannonica" created.

Edited by BillF

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Wow, this is pretty exciting.

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What do you guys think of the assertion that Monk was at the height of his powers in 1959?  Agree?  

As I recall, that was the year 5xMonkx5 was recorded, and I've always liked that one.

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8 hours ago, GA Russell said:

What do you guys think of the assertion that Monk was at the height of his powers in 1959?  Agree?  

 

That would be a fair assessment IMHO. Still during the Riverside years and like many people I prefer Monk on Riverside to Monk on Columbia.

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Disappointed in the cover art.  It should have used imagery from the film, or a modified version of the poster.  

Oh well, beggars can't be choosers.  

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On 3/21/2017 at 2:59 PM, xybert said:

Wow, this is pretty exciting.

oh yeah...looking forward to this one!

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I listened to some samples a few days ago (sorry, can't find the link anymore) and thought it's a must buy!

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Are the track timings listed anywhere? Sometimes, soundtracks yield truncated performances and I wonder if that's the case here.

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The vinyl is likely to be quite costly - at least over here.
When paying for my finds at a record clearout sale at our local secondhand record store yesterday, I asked about the special releases they'd get in for the upcoming Record Store Day and mentioned the Monk LP. Nothing doing, they said, the prices at which the DEALERS would have to buy these were quoted at MORE than 30 euros each. So no go - they'd not be prepared to go along with ANY silliness (I paraphrase only slightly ;)). Understandable.

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On 3/22/2017 at 5:49 PM, GA Russell said:

What do you guys think of the assertion that Monk was at the height of his powers in 1959?  Agree?  

As I recall, that was the year 5xMonkx5 was recorded, and I've always liked that one.

I generally disagree.  His most creative period was behind him.  But past-his-peak Thelonious Monk is still Thelonious Monk - I will absolutely be picking this up.

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Late 50s and early 60s was a fine vintage for Monk in my book.  

 

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Picked up this new release yesterday at RSD. Pricey and lavish. The tunes are all Monk warhorses but my ears tell me that something different was being attempted on this session. Approach seems less strident and just a bit more mellow. Interesting of course to hear Wilen's rather simplified approach to Monk's tune compared to Rouse's more thorough embrace of the intricacies. 

Lovelystuff. Big booklet , loads of photos , pressings and sound immaculate for the period.

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Thanks for letting us know. I have to wait til June for the cd release. . . but I'm looking forward to it!

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, jazzbo said:

I'm still going to hold off for the CD release, but there are some RSD LP copies available from Sam Records at the moment:

http://www.samrecords.fr/shop/thelonious-monk-les-liaisons-dangereuses-1960-sam-records-saga-1959/

$65 for a 2LP set? :blink:  At that price I would expect it to be bound in ermine..

Edited by sidewinder

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That was the RSD price, already "flippers" are asking for more! It does come in a box with a 48 page booklet. Sam Records has a great reputation for quality printing, material, pressing and sound quality.  People spend a lot more for "quality reissues" this century than I would/do. The CD will work for me.

 

 

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Arguably the LP set is OTT. The outer box is about 2 cm deep . Two LPs are individually housed in standard LP covers. There is a 1cm thick LP sized booklet printed on very heavy weight matt .   paper. It's mainly photos but there are some nice essays. Perhaps not enough about the music but  Monk's career and circumstances of the session are covered well. Sam Records from my experience are immaculate pressings ( I  have some Chet Baker and Barney Wilen LPs) and this set is no different. Spotless vinyl , only music , no pops/clicks what so ever. The whole thing looks very classy.

Clearly £60 is pretty high but I think the producers have done just  enough to justify that price. Before RSD I had seen some online vendors indicating a price of £49.99 but I wasn't taking the chance of not getting it online a week after RSD.

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