From the beginning of his musical life, Thelonius had always epitomized the Janus-faced musician, looking simultaneously to the future and the past. He had assiduously promoted the modern while taking pride in his ability to sound like James P. Johnson. But these recordings are deliberately and urgently nostalgic [referring to Thelonius Monk in San Francisco CD OJC 2531-231-2).] They return us to an older day, to the generation that believed the old musicals, found comfort in radio, and sang the blues without electricity. True, when Monk plays unaccompanied, there is always a nostalgic turn. Stride is inevitable, as is his exploration of old standards. But this album felt a little more prescient, if not prophetic. A revolution in music had been declared, and Monk was staking out a position.
published by The Free Press 2009
This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read for its close working relationship to the recordings and composing of Thelonius Monk, one of the musical masters of the 20th century.