Bill Evans' liner notes for the album "MONK"

Thelonious Monk


Thelonious Monk

(CBS 62497)


Liner notes by Bill Evans:

"Thelonious Monk is an example of an exceptionally uncorrupted creative talent. He has accepted the challenges that one must accept to forge a music utilizing the jazz process. Because he lacks, perhaps fortunately, exposure to the Western classical music tradition or, for that matter, comprehensive exposure to any music other than jazz and American popular music, his reflections of formal superficialities and their replacement with fundamental structure has resulted in a unique and astoundingly pure music.

Make no mistake. This man knows exactly what he is doing in a theoretical way - organized, more than likely, in a personal terminology, but strongly organized nevertheless. We can be further grateful to him for combining aptitude, insight, drive, compassion, fantasy, and whatever else makes the "total" artist, and we should also be grateful for such direct speech in an age of insurmountable conformist pressures.

In a recent 'Down Beat' Blindfold Test, I was played a Thelonious Monk track. I might repeat here part of my reaction: Monk approaches the piano and, I should add right now, music as well, from an "angle" that, although unprecedented, is just the right "angle" for him. Perhaps this is the major reason for my feeling the same respect and admiration for his work that I do for Erroll Garner's, though they might seem poles apart to the casual listener. Each seems to me as great as any man can be great if he works true to his talents, neither over nor underestimating them and, most important, functions within his limitations.

You will experience an absolutely inimitable performance when you listen to this recording and bless the beauty of the fact that there just ain't no other like it. To exemplify this is a noble accomplishment and testimony to an exceptional, worthwhile life."


Thelonious Monk: piano;
Charlie Rouse: tenor;
Larry Gales: bass;
Ben Riley: drums.

Recorded in March and October 1964.

1. Teo
2. Liza
3. Just One Way To Say I Love You
4. That Old Man
5. April in Paris
6. Just You, Just Me
7. Pannonica