Monk’s debut recording for Columbia Records comprises of several tunes previously recorded for Riverside combined with newer material. This ALL MUSIC GUIDE recommended disc lives up to its reputation as a hallmark late bop session in spite of the redundancy of old material because Monk’s legendary quartet, Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), John Ore (bass), and Frankie Dunlop (drums) work seemlessly together, pushing and pulling along with and sometimes against Monk’s rectilinear playing. As All Music’s Lindsay Planer says: “the tight–almost telepathic–dimensions that these four shared has rarely been equalled in any genre.” You have to hear it to believe it.
Produced with original masters (unlike some other EU label!) our all-analog LP allows full immersion in Monk & Co.’s telepathy. Tight, controlled bass lays low under supple mids and crisp highs in ways even the best original pressing can’t touch. Limited to 2500 copies means it doesn’t take a psychic to figure out what you’re going to do. Get this!
Monk’s Columbia recordings were made between 1962 and 1968, an extremely prolific period that left us live and studio albums of Monk alone, in a trio, with a big band, and with his great quartet of Charles Rouse, John Ore and Frankie Dunlop. These LPs are among his best, and Monk’s Dream stands comparison with any Monk album, regardless of date or label. This first Monk Coumbia release has the perfect balance of Monk’s solo ingenuity, along with a group that seems to stay with this most idiosyncratic of players as if guided by telepathy. While the album does not contain any of Monk’s signature tunes, they are all (but one) tunes he had recorded here and there on earlier albums, and each is a gem polished to perfection. The tunes were recorded over several days in late 1962 at Columbia’s famed 30th Street Studio and the recorded sound in its original form was not top drawer. At least that is what I thought until I heard this new reissue from Impex Records mastered by Kevin Gray with assistance from Robert Pincus. The sound of this new issue is to die for and then some. Impex releases only a handful of LPs each year, but its track record for taste and great sound is unrivaled. Perfect in every way. Rated (1-10): 10 for recording, 10 for music.