Previously Unreleased 1969 Thelonious Monk Concert Film Release From Blue Note on Multiple Formats

November 26th Blue Note Records releases Thelonious Monk Paris 1969 on CD/DVD, CD and vinyl as well as on a digital download album and long form video. Direct to consumer bundles available at will include a limited edition 18x24" lithograph poster.

The film includes a rare interview with the then 52 year old Monk. By then is career was fading along with his health. He'd been dropped by Columbia records after an ill-advised attempt to market him to the younger audience and just before the European tour drummer Ben Riley and bassist Larry Gales had exited, leaving Monk little time to find and rehearse replacements.

The new group featuring bassist Nate Hygelund and drummer Paris Wright along with the essential saxophonist Charlie Rouse first toured Europe before arriving in Paris where Monk had first played in 1954. The concert was also broadcast live on television.

No word on sound quality, or even if it's in mono or stereo and in vinyl terms whether it was sourced from analog or digital or who cut or who pressed (probably Pallas). But being a Monk fan, I went to the Blue Note site and bought the vinyl.

Rick Tomaszewicz's picture

"He'd been dropped by Columbia records after an ill-advised attempt to market him to the younger audience..."

I don't know why, but this reminded me of the most recent Banksy story wherein he was selling artwork on the street in NY for $60 each.  (His work has sold for as much as $1.87 million.)  Hardly anyone bothered to buy, despite the fact that at this moment he is the biggest news in the NY art world with hundreds of fans scouring the city each morning to see what he painted on what wall where.  

And, let's not forget Joshua Bell - one of the world's greatest violinists playing a $3.5 million Strad - in the Washington subway station as a busker playing the greatest violin pieces; hardly anyone stopped to listen or drop money in his violin case. 

Or, been to the Louvre?  You can wander the halls gazing up close and uninturrupted at some of the greatest art ever produced.  Until you get to the Mona Lisa.  It's like a celebrity fan crush around the painting - you can't get within 50 feet of it - with dozens of people posing for photos in front of it.

So it goes; without contex most of us are completely unaware of talent or beauty.  Often, the only thing great artists have going for them is time.  If their art has been recorded, it may be appreciated, eventually.  Maybe that's why I love old vinyl.

Steve Edwards's picture

Great point Rick. The entire time I was reading your well written, articulate post, 

I was thinking of the Joni Mitchell song FOR FREE.  

Play on

Rick Tomaszewicz's picture there's an artist who was not only appreciated in her time, but every decade someone does a tribute album or covers her work.  She even covered her own work!

Met her once.  I asked if the success was about her, or her music.  She was quite surprised and insisted it was only the music.  Often the case with a great artist; they're so busy serving their muse, they diminish the role of their personality.  Maybe that's why artists have the lowest average income; we don't have to pay them to do what they love.  

In retrospect, I'm lucky I had no great artistic talent - I just worked and made a decent living. Now as a retiree, I get to enjoy the work of real artists.


Bennyboy's picture

Most artists who 'make it big' have raging egos.

Devil Doc's picture

Thanks for the heads up Mikey. Just ordered mine, pluse the lithograph. It'll look good hanging in the music room


dhaskell's picture

Is there an option to bundle Vinyl/DVD?? Seems odd.

Paul Boudreau's picture

...for the heads-up - just pre-ordered the vinyl.

volvic's picture

Ordered my vinyl and lithograph, although would have loved to have had the option to bundle the DVD.  

M3 lover's picture

I know Monk played Paris a few times so I checked my Pioneer LaserDisc for info on "Thelonious Monk In Paris".  That lists Rouse, Hygelund, and Wright as sidemen (+ Philly Joe Jones) but claims recorded on December 15, 1959.  And FYI running time is 70 minutes for 11 songs but no interview.

So the same uncommon group but a 10 year difference in dates.  Is this simply a typo on one or the other?

M3 lover's picture

I watched my LD tonight.  The track listings are not exactly correct and it does include the interview (mostly in French) although that is not listed.

Most important, the LD lists the wrong year, it was from 1969.  From what I found searching on line I have the same concert which Blue Note will be issuing.  While Hygelund and Wright were new additions to the quartet they played several dates in London and Germany before coming to Paris.  Even though this time was limited I found the playing pretty tight.

This seemed to be a French TV production so it will be interesting to see what quality Blue Note can bring to their releases.

chasf's picture

As I listened to a pre-release stream, I knew that I had heard this before,  so I, too, pulled out my laserdisc, and discovered that the date printed on thePioneer Artists  laserdisc fromm 1991 listed 1959, while the  set was actually recorded in 1969.

I am anxiously awaiting the dvd so i can do a side to side and compare the 2 mediums.

Will post again at that time. 

volvic's picture

Pressing is not that great, not sure why BlueNote pressing are sometimes so-so but love the performance.  Why do record companies like BlueNote always put their records in those nasty hard cardboard sleeves, ruins the record.  I repeat a great performance, love the record.  

punkzter's picture

I wondered if the pre-orders have started to ship yet.  I haven't gotten mine, and the company has not responded to an e-mail.