Thelonious Monk in His Prime: Copenhagen, 1966

On April 17, 1966, Thelonious Monk performed a special half-hour set for a television program in Copenhagen, Denmark. The footage captures Monk in his prime. His quartet features the classic lineup of Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, Larry Gales on Bass and Ben Riley on Drums. They play three songs, beginning with an 18-minute version of “Lulu’s Back in Town,” from the 1964 album It’s Monk’s Time. Each musician has room to solo as Monk gets up from his piano and does his stiff, idiosyncratic dance. Next, Monk plays a solo version of the standard, “Don’t Blame Me,” by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. The full quartet returns for Monk’s signature show-closer, “Epistrophy.” The Copenhagen set, along with another one recorded two days earlier in Norway, is available on DVD as part of the Jazz Icons series.

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