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Things did not augur well for the great pianist’s eighth European tour. Aged 52 and in poor health, he’d been dropped by his record company and his rhythm section had quit. The replacements, student Nate Hygelund on bass and 17 year-old drummer Paris Wright remain unknowns.

But adversity rekindled Monk’s spark, and he and saxophonist Charlie Rouse romp through Monk’s wonderful compositions, leading their young accompanists from the front, until Philly Joe Jones joins for a late drum masterclass. More than a curiosity and a Monk fan’s must-have.

Thelonious Monk

Paris 1969

(Blue Note)

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