Straight, No Chaser

           Recording Dates:
               January 10, 1967  tks 3-6
               November 14, 1966  tk 2
               November 15, 1966  tk 1

                Larry Gales           B
                Thelonious Monk    P
                Ben Riley              D 
                Charlie Rouse       TS

            LINK Retired

Review by Lindsay Planer
This is the sixth studio album cut by Thelonious Monk under the production/direction of Teo Macero for Columbia and as such should not be confused with the original motion picture soundtrack to the 1988 film of the same name. The original disc only included six performances, half of which were edited due to the stringent time constraints of vinyl. The 1996 CD not only restores all of the previously abridged performances, but also adds a trio of sides, two of which ("I Didn't Know About You: Take 1" and "Green Chimneys") are issued here for the first time. The band featured here includes: Monk (piano), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Ben Riley (drums), and Larry Gales (bass). This would be the final quartet Monk would assemble to record with in the studio. While far from being somber, this unit retained a mature flavor which would likewise place Monk's solos in a completely new context. At times, this adaptation presents itself more subtly than others. For instance, Monk's extended solo in "Locomotive" never reaches beyond itself due in part to the tempo-laden rhythm section. The contrast of styles, however, appreciates the caliber of this particular solo, including an obvious assertion by Monk which leads the band, albeit temporarily, into playing double-time. Other recommended quartet selections on this disc include a liberated version of the title track, which not only highlights some stellar interaction between Monk and Rouse, but is heard on the CD reissue in its original performance length. The same can be said for "We See," which now includes nearly three missing minutes and features the hardest bop on the album. In addition to the quartet sides, Straight, No Chaser contains two unaccompanied piano solos: "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "This Is My Story, This Is My Song."

January 10, 1967
1. Straight, No Chaser Columbia CL 2651 
2. Japanese Folk Song (Koujou No Tsuki) - 
3. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea -
4. Wee See

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