Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners (1957)
Thelonious Monk is the second most recorded jazz composer in history after Duke Ellington. Duke wrote over 1000 songs. Monk wrote 70. The things you learn from Wikipedia!
I'm loving this album. Even though I inherited a love of jazz from my dad, who was a huge fan of early Miles Davis and everything by Dave Brubeck, I make no claims to jazz hound status. I can't tell where a piece of music was recorded based on the ambient room dynamics like some jazz fans can. I also am not one of those Jazz Fascists who insists that if a piece of music deviates one iota from the strict parameters they set - be it Dixieland, or Swing, or Bebop, or (heaven forbid) Fusion - then "it isn't REAL JAZZ!"
All I know is what I can tell with my own two ears, and this kind of music - where virtuosi take turns trying to impress each other with mind-blowing improvisations over a structured theme - is what I think of when I think of Jazz. Did I mention that I'm loving this album?
Had I heard it before? No, much to my shame.
Do I like it? Yes.
Repeat Listenability? High.
Am I keeping it? Yes.
Standout Tracks? All five tracks are great, but my favorites are the title track and the piano solo "I Surrender, Dear"