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Monk, considered one of the greatest Jazz pianists of all time, recorded Underground in '67-'68. It's the last recording with the Thelonious Monk Quartet (Larry Gales on bass, Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, and Ben Riley on drums) and one of the last album he made for Columbia. What makes Underground special is that unlike his other Columbia recordings, four out of the seven songs were newly composed and recorded. Not to mention its striking cover artwork, which depicts Monk as a French Resistance member in a particularly messy attic. Music On Vinyl is especially proud to announce that this recording has been specially re-mastered in the US for this vinyl edition from the original tapes.1. Thelonious
2. Ugly Beauty
3. Raise Four
4. Boo Boo's Birthday
5. Easy Street
6. Green Chimneys
7. In Walked Bud$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Numbered, Limited Edition of 2,000 Copies
Pressed on 180 Gram Audiophile-Grade Vinyl at Pallas Group in Germany
Mastered from Original Analog Tapes by Bernie Grundman
Grammy Award Winning Cover Art
This release has long been considered Thelonious
Monk's acknowledgement to the flourishing youth-oriented subculture from whence the collection takes
its name. Certainly the Grammy-winning cover - which
depicts Monk as a World War II French revolutionary
toting an automatic weapon - gave the establishment
more than the brilliant swinging sounds in the grooves
to consider. Underground became Monk's penultimate
studio album, as well as the final release to feature
the '60s quartet: Charlie Rouse, Ben Riley, and Larry
Gales. This 180gram audiophile-grade pressing was
mastered from analog tapes.1. Thelonious
2. Ugly Beauty
3. Raise Four
4. Boo Boo's Birthday
5. Easy Street
6. Green Chimneys
7. In Walked Bud$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Seeds From The UndergroundOver the course of a stellar career that has spanned more than 30 years, saxophonist Kenny Garrett has become the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation. From his first gig with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) through his time spent with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has always brought a vigorous yet melodic, and truly distinctive, alto saxophone sound to each musical situation. As a bandleader for the last two decades, he has also continually grown as a composer. With his latest recording (and second for Mack Avenue Records), Seeds From The Underground, Garrett has given notice that these qualities have not only become more impressive, but have provided him with the platform to expand his horizons and communicate his musical vision clearly. Seeds From The Underground is a powerful return to the straight-ahead, acoustic and propulsive quartet format that showcases Garrett's extraordinary abilities.
For Garrett, Seeds From The Underground is a special recording. It once again consists of all original compositions, and is truly an homage to those who have inspired and influenced him, both personally and musically. "All of these songs are dedicated to someone," says Garrett. "And the 'seeds' have been planted, directly or indirectly, by people who have been instrumental in my development."
With Seeds From The Underground Garrett has crafted a project that offers his appreciation while always making the listener aware of his band's skillful approach to melody, harmony and rhythm. From personal nods such as the opening track "Boogety Boogety," dedicated to his memory of watching western films with his father (the title refers to the sound of a galloping horse); "Wiggins," which references his high school band director Bill Wiggins; and "Detroit," an evocative, reflective composition about his hometown, and a celebration of mentor Marcus Belgrave; to his appreciation of some of his musical heroes on "J Mac" (Jackie McLean); "Haynes Here" (Roy Haynes); and "Do Wo Mo" (Duke Ellington, Woody Shaw and Thelonious Monk).
Melody, as a matter of fact, was a key element for the saxophonist when writing for the recording. "I wanted to focus on the melody," Garrett reflects. "I want people to remember what the melody is before we start improvising and on some songs I heard voices, the singing of the melody." This latter point is in evidence on the selections "Haynes Here," "Detroit" and "Welcome Earth Song."
Another notable component compositionally for Garrett on Seeds From The Underground is his approach to rhythm and meter. Over the past few years, one of the most popular and acclaimed groups that he has been a part of is the GRAMMY® award winning Five Peace Band, joining guitarist John McLaughlin, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Christian McBride, and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Brian Blade. His participation in that band led him to experiment with writing in different meters. "Some of these songs are in odd meters; in my experience with John, we played some songs in odd meters, so I thought, this is a different way of writing songs," Garrett states. "So there is some of that approach here."
Garrett's current working band is very much up to the task on Seeds From The Underground. And like all successful bandleaders, Garrett knows what he wants musically and has formed a band that will best communicate his message (with implicit trust among one another). Bassist Nat Reeves is a rhythmic anchor and a long-standing member of Garrett's past aggregations. However, for this recording, Garrett thought a lot about the talents of fellow Detroiter, drummer Ronald Bruner, as well as Venezuelan pianist Benito Gonzalez. "When I decided I wanted to do the album, I had Ronald in mind; I thought that he would work well on these songs. And Benito has been in my band for a while, and we talked conceptually about how I hear the piano in the band. McCoy Tyner is my man, so I wanted to have more of that sound, and there aren't a lot of young guys around who are dealing with that like Benito is." Percussionist Rudy Bird also provides a driving, rhythmic pulse to the recording.
A very important contributor to Seeds From The Underground is the project's co-producer: pianist, composer and educator, Donald Brown. His friendship with Garrett goes back to their days with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. He has been an integral part of past Garrett recordings, and has been a musical inspiration for him. "I feel comfortable in the studio with him and I know he's going to hear what I hear, because we think alike in how we hear music," states Garrett. "I've also always admired his compositions and he was really inspired by these compositions, so he was glad that we were able to hook back up on this project."
Garrett has always expressed interest in music from other parts of the world. Whether it's Africa, Greece, Indonesia, China or Guadeloupe, he immerses himself in the culture and gleans from his experience something that becomes a part of his artistic message. On Seeds From The Underground, the African-influenced "Welcome Earth Song" and "Laviso, I Bon?" (the latter was inspired by a musician friend in Guadeloupe) are prime examples.
The album highlights Garrett's overall approach to music: wide-ranging, receiving ideas from all musical sources and genres. Garrett states, "I love the challenge of trying to stay open about music and about life. If it's music, I just try to check it out. Right now I'm listening to some music from Martinique and I'm lovin' it. If I like it, maybe I can incorporate some of it into what I do." As for composing: "I don't try to control what I write," he says. "Music comes from 'The Creator.' It's a gift that's coming in, and I receive it. I write in all genres, and I'm writing all the time. It's never about what it is I just say thank you."
Seeds From The Underground is the latest stop on what continues to be a fascinating musical journey for Kenny Garrett and his listeners. It's a recording that is not only a significant personal statement from the saxophonist, but a musical declaration of his continued growth as a musician, and in particular, as a composer.1. Boogety Boogety
2. J. Mac
4. Haynes Here
6. Seeds from the Underground
8. Welcome Earth Song
9. Ballad Jarrett
10. Laviso, I Bon?$27.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Big Band And Quartet In Concert (Speakers Corner)Thelonious Monk could walk from his flat to New York's famous Philharmonic Hall on the corner of 64th Street and Broadway when he made his very first appearance there with his Big Band in December 1963. And the other musicians could get there on the underground: Phil Woods, Steve Lacy, Thad Jones - all of them were members of Monk's closest circle of collaborators. It is no wonder then that the well-known themes were highly agreeable and harmonious. I Mean You, Four In One and Epistrophy resounded through the auditorium, the audience was thrilled, Thelonious laughed and danced and a short while later fans could listen to parts of the concert on a recording released by Columbia Records. In a break for a smoke, Monk sat himself down at the piano and played Darkness On The Delta - nocturnal atmosphere pure.
Does it bear the patina of times long past? Absolutely not! Thelonious Monk is as red-hot as he ever was.
- Thelonious Monk (piano)
- Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone)
- Steve Lacy (soprano saxophone)
- Phil Woods (alto saxophone, clarinet)
- Gene Allen (bassoon, clarinet)
- Eddie Bert (trombone)
- Thad Jones (cornet)
- Nick Travis (trumpet)
- Butch Warren (bass)
- Frank Dunlop (drums)
Recording: December 1963 at Lincoln Center, Philharmonic Hall, New York
Production: Teo Macero
About Speakers Corner
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Speakers Corner all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existant tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasise that Speakers Corner Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We have one digital recording in our catalogue (Alan Parsons / Eye In The Sky"), but even in this particular case we used the analogue tapes for cutting.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects - excluding the exception above - and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.1. I Mean You
3. (When It's) Darkness On The Delta
4. Oska T.
5. Played Twice
6. Four In One
7. Epistrophy$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now