DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Thelonious Monk, Live in ’66
Published on November 6, 2006
Jazz Icons/Reelin’ in the Years DVWW-JITM
Video: 4:3 B&W
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
(Artists: Thelonious Monk, piano; Charlie Ruse, tenor sax; Larry Gales, bass; Ben Riley, drums)
There have been some other videos of Monk in performance but these films shot for Norwegian and Danish TV in l966 are superior in every way. The video is very unadorned – no emcee or host – just Monk’s quartet doing their thing on camera. The mono sound is wide range and clean, and the DVD is accompanied by a 20-page illustrated booklet with rare photographs and memorabilia, liner notes by Don Sickler and a forward from T.S. Monk – his son.
One of the kicks of the videos are the closeups of the keyboard and Monk’s stubby fingers jabbing at the keys with a spastic approach, but always hitting the right wrong notes for Monk. His use of the pedal is also very interesting to watch. On a couple tunes he even gets up during Charlie Rouse’s solo and does one of his little “dances.” I found this the most compelling viewing of all the Jazz Icon videos I’ve so far seen.
Tracklist: (Norway 1966:) Lulu’s Back in Town, Blue Monk, ‘Round Midnight; (Denmark 1966:) Lulu’s Back in Town, Don’t Blame Me, Epistrophy.
– John Henry