Liner Note Authors: Peter Keepnews; Martin Williams ; Nat Hentoff; Ralph J. Gleason; Teo Macero; Willis Conover.
Recording information: Columbia Records' 30th Street Studios, New York, NY (1962).
Photographer: Don Hunstein.
These 1962 recordings were Thelonious Monk's first for Columbia Records, with whom he spent the most commercially successful years of his career. Mixing his own highly personalized renditions of standards with originals, this was a pattern he followed for all of his subsequent releases with the label. Of his originals, only "Bright Mississippi" had never been recorded before, but after decades of toiling in obscurity, the re-recording of tunes such as "Bolivar Blues" and "Bye-Ya" was most certainly warranted. This is in part because they'd not been heard before by most of his new and wide audience, and also because this quartet (with Charlie Rouse, John Ore and Frankie Dunlop) had been playing at this point for two years--longer than he'd ever been able to keep an ensemble together before--and they'd settled into Monk's music like one charismatic and multi-limbed being.