An outstanding copy we played not long ago had us singing its praises, to wit:
If you want to hear just how good Monk’s big, rich piano can sound, look no further.
Rudy Van Gelder, eat your heart out. This is the piano sound Rudy never quite managed to get on tape all those years ago.
Some say it’s the crappy workhorse piano he had set up in his studio. Others say it was just poorly miked. Rather than speculating on something we know little about (good pianos and their miking), let’s just say that Columbia had the piano, the room and the mics to do it right, as you can easily hear on this very record.
Listen to Monk vocalizing — this copy is so resolving you can hear him clearly, yet the overall sound is warm, rich and smooth in the best Columbia tradition.
Speaking of warm, rich and smooth, this is important to the horn sound too. Most copies could not make the sax as full-bodied and free of honk as we would have liked.
This one did, earning lots of points in the process. Hard to fault and definitely hard to beat.