Welcome to From Basin St. to Birdland

by mikeconklinmusic


Thelonious Monk

How to segue from Ellington, perhaps the seminal figure of the Swing Era, to the “High Priest of Bebop”? Well, that’s an easy one.

Writer Stanley Dance, in his book The World Of Duke Ellington (Da Capo Press: Cambridge, MA), offers this experience:

“[Ellington] first heard Monk’s music, according to trumpeter Ray Nance, in the summer of 1948. Nance was traveling with Ellington and a small group of musicians on a short tour of England and had taken with him a “portable gramophone.” As Nance told Stanley Dance in a 1966 interview:”I was on my way to Bournemoth, Hampshire, by train, and in my compartment I put on one of my Thelonious Monk records. Duke was passing by in the corridor, and he asked, ‘Who’s that playing?’ I told him. ‘Sounds like he’s stealing some of my stuff,’ he said. So he sat down and listened to my records, and he was very impressed. He understood what Monk was doing.” (Dance 1981, 139).

Below, I offer two versions of Ellington’s Solitude. The first rendition is from Ellington’s September 17, 1962 recording United Artists records; the album was entitled Money Jungle and included Charles Mingus and Max Roach! The second version is by Thelonious Monk from his album, Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington.

Here’s Duke!

Now Monk!

Just a “lil sumpin” to whet your curiosity on a Sunday morning 🙂