Thelonious MONK – 5 By Monk By 5 1959

Thelonious MONK – 5 By Monk By 5  1959
[Analogue Prod 180g; LP 6 of 7 LP-Box The Riverside Tenor Sessions] 2496 & 1644.1


The title of this 1959 album nicely mirrors some of what makes Thelonious Monk so magical. He took common, simple elements and made them resonate with his personality. Monk brought Thad Jones on board for an extra harmonic line in the compositions, as well as his spirited soloing. “Jackie-ing,” named for his niece, opens the album like a national anthem being paraded through some country where we all ought to be living at least some of the time. And then 55 minutes later it all wraps up with “Ask Me Now”–surely one of the most beautiful pieces in jazz or any idiom.
As the 50s drew to a close, so did Thelonious Monk’s illustrious tenure on Riverside Records. In fact, the three dates needed for this title would be his penultimate for the label. The album’s concept placed five Monk originals into a five-person (read quintet) setting. Ironically, this was the first time that Monk had recorded with a lineup that so prominently displayed a standard bop rhythm section with both a trumpet and sax player. The quintet on Five by Monk by Five (1959) finds the pianist supported by Thad Jones (cornet), Sam Jones (bass), Art Taylor (drums), and Charlie Rouse (tenor sax) — who would continue working with the artist as Monk’s (more or less) permanent tenor saxophonist for the majority of the ’60s. In what had become somewhat of a tradition, the disc’s program boasts several of Monk’s more established melodies coupled with a few recent works. One of those was Jackie-ing — named incidentally after Monk’s niece. It commences the disc exemplifying the loose, disjointed and exceedingly difficult scores that would define Thelonious Monk as a premiere composer, arranger, and bandleader. This seemingly unkempt sound flies in the face of Monk’s thoroughly disciplined keyboard playing, as well as a solid component within the context of the full ensemble — which he skillfully demonstrates not only on Jackie-ing,  but on every entry within the long-playing effort. The songs’ opening jam is imbued with a hearty tug of war as Rouse’s animated lines tangle with Monk’s interjections and piano antics. Jones’ cornet is similarly worked into the tricky arrangements. To some, the sound — which is starkly disparate when compared to the timbre that exists among the comparatively subdued Rouse or Monk — can be notably disconcerting. When Five by Monk by Five was reissued in CD, the running order was augmented by two alternate takes of Played Twice — the other Monk-penned tune to have been debuted on the LP. ”
By Lindsay Planer.
Thelonious Monk- Piano
Thad Jones- Cornet
Sam Jones- Bass
Charlie Rouse- Tenor Sax
Art Taylor- Drums
Side A
A1. Jackie-Ing  6:06
A2. Straight, No Chaser  9:21
A3. Played Twice (Take 3)  7:59

Side B
B1. I Mean You (Monk, Coleman Hawkins)  9:47
B2. Ask Me Now  10:46

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2 Responses to “Thelonious MONK – 5 By Monk By 5 1959”

  1. I think I remember reading somewhere that Monk’s ‘charts’ and changes were one of the standards by which new players were allowed entry into the select club of players at the loft jams in NYC. If they couldn’t play this stuff they couldn’t play. Yikes!

    • i don´t think they can.
      i tried at my clubs in many occations…
      just a cheap imitations most of the time with no heart no soul…

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