Thelonious Monk
The Unique Thelonious Monk | 45rpm 2LP

Analogue Productions / Riverside

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Monk's second album for Riverside continued the label's initial plan to broaden his audience by the use of recognizable standard tunes instead of his somewhat frightening originals. Thelonious' uncompromising performances, along with major league support (Art Blakey and Oscar Pettiford) and strong material, helped to turn this concept into lastingly superior jazz. Particularly notable are Monk's sharp thrusts of humor on such well-worn pieces as "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Tea for Two." The album's impact was strengthened by one of the most unique covers ever devised. Riverside went so far as to print near-postage-sized Monk stamps, quite a few of which reportedly found their way through the actual mail.

Originally released in 1956. - Acoustic Sounds

“The seven-song Unique Thelonious Monk (1956) platter was the pianist's second during his remarkable five-year tenure on Riverside. His debut for the label was the aptly titled Plays Duke Ellington (1955) and once again, on this disc, Monk's song selection did not feature any original compositions. Rather, the well-chosen standards included exemplify and help further establish the pianist and bandleader within the context of familiar melodies at the head of a trio -- consisting of Oscar Pettiford (bass) and Art Blakey (drums).

Regarding the personnel, while Pettiford had also accompanied Monk on the Ellington sides, Blakey replaces Kenny Clarke. The pairing of Monk and Blakey cannot be overstated. Immediately, evidence of their uncanny instrumental interaction is the rhythmic focal point of "Liza, All the Clouds'll Roll Away" as the two play musical cat-and-mouse. They cajole and wheedle atop Pettiford's undulating undercurrent as it sonically corals their skilled syncopation and otherwise inspired mile-a-minute interjections.

The trio struts and glides as Monk's intricate fingering simultaneously displays his physical dexterity as well as his ability to play so deftly in the moment. Both attributes would resurface ten-fold once Monk began to animate his own compositions on the genre-defining Brilliant Corners (1956).” - AllMusic


  • Thelonious Monk, piano
  • Art Blakey, drums
  • Oscar Pettiford, bass


Item description:


Thelonious Monk


The Unique Thelonious Monk


Analogue Productions / Riverside


2 × Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM, Album, Reissue, 180gm



Release Date:

This reissue: 2005 | Original - 1956




Bop, Post Bop, Piano

Catalog No:

AJAZ 209