The Thelonious Monk Quartet, made up of John Ore on double bass, Charlie Rouse on sax and Frankie Dunlop on drums, returns here for the second part of its 1963 concert at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Together, the musicians deliver three themes ("Evidence," "Ruby My Dear," "Bright Mississippi") that demonstrate a high watermark in the career of their bandleader, an enigmatic and ungraspable pianist who still fascinates to this day.
Monk's compositions were fluid throughout his recording decades, their forms shifting considerably and constantly, often with memorable note sequences acting as the sole indicators for live audiences. "Evidence" sounds very different from its original 1948 recording, and beyond the sumptuous opening of "Ruby My Dear," the band are given freedom to explore within the peaks and valleys of its soundscape. "Bright Mississippi" hooks us with its opening staccato sequence and saxophonist Charlie Rouse is afforded a lengthy solo (as with the first two compositions).
Everything that made Monk iconic is on display: the private dancing, the famous hat, the erect posture ... but most importantly, the angular, dissonant and utterly betwitching music.