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The Thrills and Frustrations of a Rediscovered Thelonious Monk Recording

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“Palo Alto,” a new release of a previously unissued concert recording of Thelonious Monk and his quartet, from 1968, embodies some of the vexing paradoxes of his majestic artistry and his radically influential career. The album, scheduled for release in July from Impulse Records, was delayed, reportedly owing to contractual issues; it will now be released on September 18th, on CD and vinyl by Impulse and digitally by Sony Legacy. Monk, a pianist and composer, was fifty-one at the time of the concert. He was one of the prime creators—the creator, he said—of modern jazz, i.e., bebop, alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, in the early nineteen-forties, most famously at jam sessions at a Harlem club called Minton’s. Yet, while those musicians also had jobs with famous big bands, Monk—the house pianist at Minton’s—was composing, theorizing, and mentoring. Those musicians, and others in their circle, recorded copiously, starting in 1945, but Monk’s recorded output remained scant until the nineteen-fifties. Though musicians had long been aware of his powerfully original ideas and performances, it wasn’t until a 1957 gig, at the Five Spot, in the East Village—where his main sideman was the saxophonist John Coltrane—that his central place in modern artistic life became widely acknowledged.

Some reasons are bitterly practical and political. New York had a law at the time requiring club musicians to hold a police-issued “cabaret card,” which some, including Monk, lost after drug convictions (one for marijuana, another when he was wrongly charged), resulting in Monk being barred from jazz clubs for many years. (Another arrest, in 1958, after from his ejection from a hotel lobby in Jim Crow-enforcing Delaware, led to yet another suspension from club dates.) At the same time, Monk endured the widespread rejection of critics and audiences, who long failed to recognize his greatness, whether in public performances or on records, even as his peers from Minton’s were widely acclaimed. Whereas Parker, Gillespie, and the pianist Bud Powell were conspicuously virtuosic, their solos thrillingly outpacing lesser artists both in invention and execution, Monk, though no less skilled on his instrument, had a different way of showing it. He traded speed for space, which he punctuated with percussive, angular figures that matched their distinctive harmonic complexity (and, sometimes, harmonic starkness) with extraordinary micro-timing and a variety of attacks. His style was no less difficult to achieve than those of his peers, but its brilliance was less evident even to ostensible cognoscenti. As a result, his recordings were slower to come along—and, when they did, critics (which is to say, white critics) were even slower to appreciate them as more than merely idiosyncratic and eccentric. Musicians, nonetheless, knew all along that he was a decisive creator of musical forms; Teddy Hill, a bandleader who managed Minton’s, said, “Monk seemed more like the guy who manufactured the product rather than commercialized it.”

Monk’s peers in modern music, such as Parker, Gillespie, and Powell—who, as a teen-ager, studied with Monk—also composed, and their compositions quickly became widely performed by other musicians. But Monk is likely one of the two most important composers of jazz, second only to Duke Ellington. What’s more, his own compositions were the basis for most of his recordings and concerts. He rarely recorded compositions by other jazz musicians, with the exception of Ellington; he delved only secondarily into the Great American Songbook. In his compositions, as in his improvisations, he dealt himself severe limits, distilling and fragmenting his own melodies, each time differently, often picking up on phrases from the preceding (usually saxophone) soloist. Within this framework, the liberating force of inspiration was ecstatic—yet the danger of narrowness lurked.

In 1957, Monk’s quartet with Coltrane (who’d been fired from Miles Davis’s quintet because of his heroin addiction, which he was struggling to kick) held a six-month residency at the Five Spot. A visit to the club to see them play became de rigueur for New York artists and intellectuals. (Robin D. G. Kelley tells the story, in fascinating detail, in his essential and extraordinary biography of Monk.) In an odd and depressing way, though, Monk was a victim of his own success, modest and belated though it may have been. Monk’s new acclaim enabled him to form a working quartet, but Coltrane returned to Miles Davis’s group, in 1958; Monk hired the saxophonist Charlie Rouse, who was a fine musician, with the skill to negotiate Monk’s terse but complicated compositions and the imagination to reëxplore them nightly, but he wasn’t an original soloist at a level to challenge Monk. As Monk grew popular, he and the quartet spent much of the year touring. This left him, he said, with little time or energy to compose; from the late fifties on, Kelley estimates, Monk worked with a core repertory of only “about fifteen to twenty” pieces. In 1962, Monk signed a contract with Columbia Records that provided both financial stability and publicity. In 1964, he made the cover of Time—at exactly a moment when a new generation of avant-garde musicians, such as Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, and the ever-advancing Coltrane himself, made Monk seem like a holdover from the previous revolution.

Throughout the sixties, Monk concerts (many of which were often recorded unofficially, as in the case of the Palo Alto gig) more or less followed the same format, and their quality is mainly in the extent of Monk’s and Rouse’s degree of inspiration on the given day. (My favorite Monk recording of this quartet is from a European concert tour, in 1969, when he brought along a seventeen-year-old New York drummer named Paris Wright, who, through innocence or bravado, uninhibitedly challenged Monk on the bandstand, stoking Monk’s creative fires to a high blaze.) The Palo Alto concert doesn’t reach such heights, but it offers its own distinctive and illuminating pleasures. The story behind its very existence (which Kelley tells in the Monk biography and expands on in liner notes for the album) is remarkable: it was organized by Danny Scher, a sixteen-year-old senior at Palo Alto High School and a white jazz fan, who held the concert as a fund-raiser for his school’s International Club, and whose promotion of it in the predominantly Black neighborhood of East Palo Alto apparently played a role in easing tensions between the communities. The recording is only forty-seven minutes long, featuring six pieces. The band was staying in San Francisco and had to rush back there for a club date that night; Scher’s older brother borrowed the family van to pick them up and drive them back.

Rouse and the drummer, Ben Riley, launch into the opening number, Monk’s ballad “Ruby, My Dear,” at an unusually bouncy tempo, and Monk makes his entry in double time, soloing with a sense of voluble relaxation. He kicks off the second, up-tempo piece, “Well, You Needn’t,” energetically, and, after Rouse’s vigorous solo, Monk winks at his final phrases before revisiting the melody and spinning off from it in long, whirling phrases, which he then takes apart and rebuilds as hypnotic fragments. Monk pares the legato theme of “Don’t Blame Me,” the third track, to gaunt melodic stalagmites, linked by the deep reverberations of his startling bass line, and resolves to a jaunty, sped-up, stride-like, glitteringly percussive development. “Blue Monk” starts with Monk remaining in the same stride-piano vein; after Rouse’s solo, Monk returns with drolly fragmented countermelody and continues with mercurial, polyrhythmic skitters up the keyboard, dissolving to a series of driving, funky chords strutting down the keyboard with an exuberant heft.

By the time this recording was made, many of the musicians closest to Monk—Davis, Coltrane, Sonny Rollins—had changed their playing significantly, moving ahead into the wilder waters of jazz modernity. Monk spoke ill of the avant-garde. He didn’t perform with its luminaries (there were one or two brief, belated, unrecorded exceptions), and he didn’t seek much contact with the new generation of vastly accomplished musicians who were making their mark in bop-rooted styles. It’s hard to know whether his taste congealed or whether his belated success prompted him to stay the course until he fell out of fashion. Also, in the mid-sixties, he began to endure the exacerbated effects of bipolar disorder, and his behavior became increasingly erratic. His activity dwindled in the nineteen-seventies; he gave his final concerts in 1976 (I was at the second to last) and died, of a stroke, in 1982. Yet his artistry is woven into the very core of jazz history. His compositions continue to be widely played—and their performance has a strange, singular, and powerful effect. Their ideas and, for that matter, their melodies are inseparable from his unique, utterly and instantly distinctive way of playing the piano—they seemingly transmit his very presence. Monk doesn’t just influence modern jazz; he inhabits it. His music is the virtual gene-splicer of modern jazz.

My Five Essential Monk Albums

1. “The Best of Thelonious Monk,” selected Blue Note recordings, 1947–1952

2. “Piano Solo,” Paris, 1954

3. “The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings,” with John Coltrane / “Monk’s Music,” 1957

4. “Live at the Jazz Workshop,” 1964

5. “Paris 1969,” live from Salle Pleyel, Paris, France, 1969

(And my single exemplary Monk track, as a sideman: Miles Davis’s “Bags’ Groove (Take 1),” from “Bags’ Groove,” 1954.)

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Over the Moon: What’s The Story Details And When It Will Air On Netflix

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Now we will discuss a new animated series coming on the streaming program Netflix. The upcoming musical comedy film, Over The Moon, is showing up on the streaming program Netflix soon. It has been a long time since the streaming program obtained the rights to the upcoming animated film.

The wait for this animated movie is almost over, and the supporters of Netflix would have the option to look out for The Moon with their kids soon. The movie is showing up on Netflix in the fall of this year. Major Details revealed for the upcoming animated movie.

When Will It Going To Release

The wait for the arrival of the animated parody film, Over The Moon, is finished. The streaming program, Netflix, as of late, reported the air date of the animated film. Over The Moon will release for the fans on October 23 this year.

What’s The Story Details

The animated movie will follow a little girl named Fei. Since childhood, Fei has heard the stories of the moon goddess Chang’e. In the tales, Chang’e, the moon goddess, has been caught on the moon for quite a while. Fei needs to meet the moon goddess. She makes a rocket boat to make an excursion to the moon and meet the goddess of the moon, Chang’e. On her experience, she takes her pet Rabbit and stowaway Chin and travels to meet the moon goddess Chang’e.

What’s The Cast Details

There are many stars who have dubbed to the different characters in Over The Moon. The cast of the upcoming movie is Cathy Ang as Fei, Phillipa Soo as Chang’e, Robert G Chiu as Chin, Sandra Oh as Mrs. Zhong, Artt Butler as Ma, Margaret Cho as Auntie Ling, and Ruthie Ann Miles as Mother.

Over The Moon will highlight eight episodes in it. Coordinated by Glen Keane, the thriller movie will show up on the Netflix’s foundation on October 23.

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General Hospital: Emma Samms Returns as Presumed-Dead Holly

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Another beloved Port Charles vet has risen from the dead.

In the final moments of Friday’s General Hospital, Emma Samms reprised her role of the presumed-dead Holly Sutton. The character — whose resurrection was first hinted at last week when her ex Robert (Tristan Rogers) received what he believed to be a phone call from her — turned up in a locked cell in Monte Carlo. (Our sister pub Soaps.com has been speculating about Holly’s return since before the body started to… Well, it didn’t really cool at all, did it?)

Samms, who debuted as Holly in 1982 and has appeared on and off since, was last seen on the ABC soap in 2015. Her other TV credits include Dynasty and its spin-off, The Colbys.

After being off the air for much of the summer due to Hollywood’s industry-wide COVID-19 production shutdown, GH returned with new episodes on Aug 3.


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PEN15: Season Three? Has the Hulu Series Been Cancelled or Renewed Yet?

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PEN15 on Hulu: cancelled? season three? (release date) – canceled + renewed TV shows – TV Series Finale























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