Speaking to Nat Hentoff in Downbeat, Thelonious Monk was once asked how people new to his music should approach it. In what may have been a throwaway comment, he said:
“Just listen to the music in the order that I’ve recorded it. Get the records, sit down and dig.”
With that in mind I’ve created the following playlist on Spotify:
I am indebted to this excellent discography in making this list.
It’s reasonably complete, with all the studio albums in there, including the final sessions made in London on the Black Lion label. What’s missing sadly are a great deal of live recordings released on small labels made on tour in Europe and Japan throughout the 60s. Many have yet to be issued on CD, never mind digitally, I imagine.
Why did I do this? Well, I’m working on a rather secret (oops!) new theatre project involving Monk. Can’t reveal too many details just yet, but it’s going to be quite special, I hope.
Now go in peace.