Music: Historic Recordings
The November 1957 performance by Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane is a Holy Grail of sorts, the first extended and decently recorded concert by a legendary, short-lived quartet. Monk and Trane are a better mesh than you might at first think, the pianist interested in creating spaces and the tenor saxist wanting to fill them. The one ballad here, "Monk's Mood," brings out Trane's soulful side, but more impressive is the ease with which he threads his way through the tricky harmonies. As for Monk ... in some of his live dates, he was on automatic; in others, he was thoroughly engaged. This is definitely one of the latter. And after decades of being told how great this combo was, it's an intense pleasure to find out that they were really all that.