Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane Carnegie Hall 1957

In February 2005, Larry Appelbaum, the recording lab supervisor at the Library of Congress, was looking through a box of Voice of America acetate tapes waiting to be digitized and added to the collection. During this process he found some tape boxes labeled “Carnegie Hall Jazz 1957” and a hand written note that said T. Monk. Amazingly these tapes contained the lost and never released recordings of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane’s legendary concert at Carnegie Hall from 1957. The anniversary of the concert is November 29. This was a huge discovery. Not just for jazz, but for American music as a whole.

Listening to this concert a little over half a century later, the music is still tremendous. For Thelonious Monk, this represents one of the high points of his creativity. For John Coltrane, who was mentored by Mr. Monk, this recording comes just weeks before he rejoined Miles Davis. A partnership that led to the recording of the famed “Kind of Blue.” Coltrane then went on to make his masterpiece “A Love Supreme.”

This is really a must have record in any collection, not just those who are regular listeners to jazz. The coming together of these huge figures in American music was nothing short of astonishing. Finding this recording hidden away for all those years in a box was remarkable. Fortunately for us, we are the beneficiaries of the concert and the discovery.

Here are some of the tracks from the concert.
Monk and Coltrane


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