The Record Collection

Thelonious Monk: Underground (2003)

Columbia/Legacy – CK 63535

Track List:

01 – Thelonious (Take 1)
02 – Ugly Beauty (Take 5)
03 – Raise Four
04 – Boo Boo’s Birthday (Take 11)
05 – Easy Street
06 – Green Chimneys
07 – In Walked Bud
08 – Ugly Beauty (Take 4)
09 – Boo Boo’s Birthday (Take 2)
10 – Thelonious (Take 3)


Thelonious Monk – piano
Charlie Rouse – tenor sax
Larry Gales – bass
Ben Riley – drums
Jon Hendricks – vocals/lyrics on “In Walked Bud”

Producer – Teo Macero
Engineer – Fred Plaut, Arthur Kendy

#02,06,08 recorded on December 14, 1967;
#04,09 on December 21, 1967;
#01,03,05,07,10 on February 14, 1968.

#08,09 are previously unreleased.

“The CD presents, in sequence, the seven selections that appeared on the original LP, followed by three alternates.
Take numbers identify each version of the duplicated selections.
However, as initially released, only two of the seven pieces were heard in full as they had been recorded.
All but ‘Thelonious’ and ‘Boo Boo’s Birthday’ were either briefly trimmed or severly edited – possibly in order to include a version of each recorded number despite the time limitations of the LP form . . .
One specific intention of this reissue disc is to present the material basically as Monk played it in the studio.
(Another act of restoration is not to turn off Hendricks’ track when he finishes his scat chorus, thus preserving his spontaneous bursts of enthusiasm throughout ‘In Walked Bud.’)”
— Discogs

This release has long been considered Thelonious Monk’s acknowledgement to the flourishing youth-oriented subculture from whence the collection takes its name.
Certainly the Grammy-winning cover art — which depicts Monk as a World War II French revolutionary toting an automatic weapon — gave the establishment more than the brilliant swinging sounds in the grooves to consider.
Underground became Monk’s penultimate studio album, as well as the final release to feature the ’60s quartet.
— Allmusic (Lindsay Planer)

“Ugly Beauty” is the only waltz among Thelonious Monk’s recorded compositions.
“Raise Four” is a blues with an extraordinarily simple but dissonant melody.
“Boo Boo’s Birthday” and “Green Chimneys” are named after Monk’s daughter Barbara, Boo Boo being her nickname, and “Green Chimneys” being the name of the school she attended. “Boo Boo’s Birthday” has an unorthodox structure among even Monk’s tunes, being 21 bars in length and having an unusual harmonic structure.
“In Walked Bud”, first recorded in 1947, is based on the chord progression of “Blue Skies” and is dedicated to Monk’s friend and fellow jazz pianist, Bud Powell. Jazz vocalese artist Jon Hendricks appears on this track, adding lyrics to the song’s melody.
— Wikipedia