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by: Thelonious Monk

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Originally released in 1968, Thelonious Monk's Underground was his first album since the mid-fifties to contain as many as four previously unrecorded original compositions. Underground counts as one of Monk's final albums.

Monk's band on Underground included Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Larry Gales (bass) and Ben Riley (drums). Vocalist Jon Hendricks sang on "In Walked Bud"--a song Monk dedicated to his pianist friend Bud Powell.

A signature tune, "Thelonious", opens Underground with Monk's dynamic cascade of sound. "Ugly Beauty" serves as relaxing number best heard with the lights down low. "Raise Four" emits a hypnotic quality that captures Monk's jazz genius.

"Boo Boo's Birthday" was a song dedicated to his daughter. This track showcases Charlie Rouse's smooth tenor sax playing that fit well with Monk's style. "Easy Street", a heavy-lidded tune, stands as classic Monk song. "Green Chimneys" was another composition dedicated to his daughter that relaxes the listener every time the song is heard.

"In Walked Bud" closes this album. Underground features some of the last songs Thelonious Monk ever wrote and proves worth adding to your collection.

James Calemine


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