Saturday, April 30, 2016
I remember reading in a book on Monk, by a German scholar (whom I should forgive because this was one of the first serious books on Monk) that Monk wanted to look at the sheet music before recording his Ellington album. The author thought that this was an indication that he didn't know Ellington's music very well. It wouldn't occur to him that Monk would want to study Duke's music, one serious composer to another, before recording it. Here's the thing. Monk would play the same songs over and over, not just his own, but also the standards that he liked the most, at any given time. I doubt he would just go into the studio without studying the music he was going to play, and just jam on Caravan or Sophisticated Lady.