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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



The Classic Quartet




  1. Epistrophy
  2. Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are
  3. Evidence
  4. Just a Gigolo
  5. Blue Monk

Thelonious Monk - Piano

Charlie Rouse - Tenor

Butch Warren - Bass

Frankie Dunlop - Drums

Recorded in Tokyo, May 23rd.1963.

Monk and Charlie Rouse were long time partners in music, Charlie has always been a favourite of mine he has a nice warm tone and plays long flowing lines, this makes him a great foil for Monk whose very angular approach to jazz improvisation, took me along while to get used to. To anyone who feels the same about Monk on first hearing, I would say "stay with it" you will find it rewarding in the end.

The title is not misleading, this really is a classic jazz quartet in every way, not only are all the musicians masters of the genre, but collectively they produce a great sound. Butch Warren and Frankie Dunlop are the ideal rhythm pairing, their first concern being the accompaniment of Rouse and Monk, but that said they are both capable soloists.

The programme consists of four of Monk’s compositions and one standard, Just a Gigolo, which I have not heard before as a jazz vehicle. The oddly named track 2, is otherwise known as Bolivar Blues, named after the New York hotel where Monk’s "soul mate" the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswater resided. Blue Monk is of course also a blues composition, one that has become a jazz standard and Charlie Rouse plays a fine extended solo on this version.

Just a Gigolo is an unaccompanied piano solo, it is a classic in the kind of work Monk was capable of, seemingly never to do the obvious but always miraculously pulling it all together in the end!

There is only some 36 minutes music on this record, but it is 36 minutes of high quality jazz. I recommend it.

Don Mather

5 March 2006

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