Thelonious Monk – Underground (1968/2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 40:28 minutes | 843 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Columbia
“Underground” is a 1968 album by American jazz musician Thelonious Monk. It features Monk on piano, Larry Gales on bass, Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, and Ben Riley on drums. The album is widely known for its provocative cover image, which depicts Monk as a fictitious French Resistance fighter in the Second World War. It contains a number of new Monk compositions, some of which appear in recorded form only on this album. This is the last Monk album featuring the Thelonious Monk Quartet, and the last featuring Charlie Rouse.
This release has long been considered Thelonious Monk’s acknowledgement to the flourishing youth-oriented subculture from whence the collection takes its name. Certainly the Grammy-winning cover art – which depicts Monk as a World War II French revolutionary toting an automatic weapon – gave the establishment more than the brilliant swinging sounds in the grooves to consider. Underground became Monk’s penultimate studio album, as well as the final release to feature the ’60s quartet: Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Ben Riley (drums), and Larry Gales (bass) behind Monk (piano). One of the motifs running throughout Monk’s recording career is the revisitation of titles from his voluminous back catalog. The tradition continues with the autobiographical leadoff track, “Thelonious.” The instantly recognizable stride piano lines are delivered with the same urgency and precision that they possessed over two decades earlier when he first recorded the track for Blue Note. The presence of Charlie Rouse throughout the album is certainly worth noting. “Ugly Beauty” best captures the sacred space and musical rapport that he and Monk shared. Each musician functions as an extension of the other, creating solos that weave synchronically as if performed by the same pair of hands. Newer material, such as the playful “Green Chimneys” – named after the school Monk’s daughter attended – as well as the unbalanced hypnotism of “Raise Four,” asserts the timelessness and relevance of Monk’s brand of bop. The disc ends as it begins with a new twist on an old favorite. Jon Hendricks – who provides lyrics and vocals on “In Walked Bud” – recalls the hustle and bustle of the real and spontaneous underground Harlem jam sessions of the late ’40s. It is likewise an apt bookend to this chapter in the professional life of Thelonious Monk.
01 – Thelonius
02 – Ugly Beauty
03 – Raise Four
04 – Boo Boo’s Birthday
05 – Easy Street
06 – Green Chimney’s
07 – In Walked Bud
Produced by Teo Macero. Engineered by Tim Geelan.
Recorded on December 14 and 21, 1967 & February 14, 1968.
Thelonious Monk – piano
Charlie Rouse – tenor saxophone
Larry Gales – bass
Ben Riley – drums
Jon Hendricks – vocals on “7”