Thelonious Monk – It’s Monk’s Time – Getting the Balance Right

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More It’s Monk’s Time

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of It’s Monk’s Time.

There are three main elements that comprise the sound of It’s Monk’s Time: piano, sax and drums. You need all three to be balanced and correct. The mix is perfection on the best copies, with the piano, sax and drums clearly audible and in musically correct proportion to each other. 

As we played the sides we noted how each of them fared.

PIANO. Clear, present and lively. Very high-rez.

SAX. Smooth, rich and tubey, with no RVG squawk to be found.

DRUMS (and BASS). Big drums in a big room. Listen to how solid that kick is. The standup bass is tight and note-like.

Surprisingly side two sounded just like side one. We could find no fault with it. It doesn’t happen very often but it happened on this copy.

This may be the best sounding Thelonious Monk album to ever hit the site. We can thank the brilliant Columbia engineers for their service to one of the authentic geniuses of jazz.

For some perspective, I can’t think of a single Dave Brubeck album that sounds as good as this one.

And if you own the Speakers Corner Heavy Vinyl reissue, please buy this copy and hear what you’ve been missing.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Lulu’s Back In Town
Memories Of You
Stuffy Turkey

Side Two

Lulu’s Back In Town
Memories Of You
Stuffy Turkey

AMG Review

It’s Monk’s Time (1964) contains some of the best — if not arguably the best — studio sides that the pianist cut during his final years as a recording musician…

From four sessions in early 1964, It’s Monk’s Time gathers four quartet and two solo sides, presenting the pinnacle of what these musicians offered stylistically as well as from the standpoint of presentation.

There is sense of mischievous playfulness in Monk’s nimble keyboard work, especially notable on the beautifully off-kilter unaccompanied opening to “Lulu’s Back in Town,” and the same practically impish quality also drives the solo performance on “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”