Featured in Michael Fremer’s Heavy Rotation in the May 2010 Issue of Stereophile!
Pressed at Pallas in Germany!
Alan Bates took Thelonious Monk into the studio for his first trio recording in fifteen years with his old sidekick Art Blakey. It has been said often enough that Blakey is the ideal drummer for Monk, and one has only to hear them together again after all this time to realize the truth of the statement. If Blakey at times seems to push the pianist almost too hard, that is in fact the nature of their musical relationship. And, throughout the session, Blakey appeared to be vying with the producer in alternately cajoling and coercing Monk into fulfilling various requests from the small invited audience.
“There’s nothing weak, indecisive or “washed up” about Monk’s playing here. He sounds strong, in great humor and thoroughly engaged….The piano sound is absolutely superb harmonically, texturally and especially dynamically. It’s big, intimate and close with the hand separation giving you unusually clear access to Monk’s musical thinking.” – Michael Fremer, www.musicangle.com, Music 9, Sound 9