notes by Bill Evans:
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."
-- BILL EVANS