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White Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Straight, No Chaser

  (Item #: monk_strai_1908) 

Our Price: $449.99

  • This early 360 Stereo Columbia pressing boasts incredible Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides
  • If you want to hear just how good Monk's big, rich piano sounds, this copy can show you like nothing by Monk you've heard
  • Four Stars in Allmusic, with Teo Macero producing and top Columbia engineering to ensure audiophile standard sonics
  • "Thelonious Monk’s Straight, No Chaser is the pinnacle of his recordings for Columbia Records..." — TheAudioBeat.com
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White Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Criss-Cross

  (Item #: monk_criss_1811_7_9) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • This early stereo pressing won our shootout - it has insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides
  • Columbia's recordings produced by Teo Macero in the early '60s have consistently open, natural sound - this one from 1963 is no exception
  • The piano sounds amazing here - natural and dynamic, letting Monk's passionate playing shine
  • "Thelonious Monk's second album for Columbia Records features some of the finest work that Monk ever did in the studio with his '60s trio and quartet ... This is prime Monk for any degree of listener."
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White Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
In Person

  (Item #: monk_inper_1908) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • In Person makes its Hot Stamper debut with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on all four sides
  • Unusually rich, full-bodied, lively and present sound which brings out the best in this music
  • Features incomparable jazz greats Donald Byrd and Joe Gordon
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The first half of In Person contains the pianist/composer's famous Town Hall concert of 1959... The second half of this two-fer finds Monk leading a strong sextet with trumpeter Joe Gordon and tenors Rouse and Harold Land live..."
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Brilliant Corners

  (Item #: monk_brill_1907_1) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • KILLER nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish; exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Rich, full-bodied and present yet still very clean, clear and spacious - the mastering is near perfection
  • With masterful horn playing from Sonny Rollins and Clark Terry, and a rhythm section that can actually keep up with Monk, made up of Max Roach, Oscar Pettiford and Paul Chambers, this is a groundbreaking Must Own for any music loving audiophile
  • 5 Stars: "Brilliant Corners may well be considered the alpha and omega of post-World War II American jazz. No serious jazz collection should be without it."
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
It's Monk's Time

  (Item #: monk_itsmo_1908) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Incredible nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish for this original 360 label pressing
  • Both sides here are super rich and Tubey Magical and the piano is clear with a huge bottom end -- we're crazy for that sound!
  • AMG raves it "contains some of the best -- if not arguably the best -- studio sides that the pianist cut during his final years as a recording musician..."
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Super Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Criss-Cross

  (Item #: monk_criss_1812_1906_1908) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • This wonderful pressing of Thelonious Monk's second studio album has outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Columbia records produced by Teo Macero in the early '60s have consistently open, natural sound - this one from '63 is no exception
  • The piano sounds amazing here -- natural and dynamic, letting Monk's passionate playing shine
  • 4 stars: "Thelonious Monk's second album for Columbia Records features some of the finest work that Monk ever did in the studio with his '60s trio and quartet ... This is prime Monk for any degree of listener."
See all of our Thelonious Monk albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Misterioso

  (Item #: monk_misterioso_1958_1905_1908) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • Monk's live 1958 release makes its Hot Stamper debut, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Big, lively, open and clear with Tubey Magical richness - just the right sound for this masterful quartet
  • Recorded live at the Five Spot Cafe in New York City, the energy here is palpable - according to Orrin Keepnews, Monk "played more distinctly here than on his studio albums in response to the audience's enthusiasm during the performance"
  • 5 stars: "[The quartet's] overwhelming and instinctual capacities directly contribute to the powerful swingin' and cohesive sound they could continually reinvent."
See all of our Thelonious Monk albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Straight, No Chaser

  (Item #: monk_strai_1811_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This early 360 Stereo Columbia pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • If you want to hear just how good Monk's big, rich piano sounds, this copy can show you like nothing by Monk you've heard
  • Four Stars in Allmusic, with Teo Macero producing and top Columbia engineering to ensure audiophile standard sonics
  • "Thelonious Monk’s Straight, No Chaser is the pinnacle of his recordings for Columbia Records..." — TheAudioBeat.com
See all of our Thelonious Monk albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
The Riverside Trios

  (Item #: monk_rivers_1902_1905) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This Milestone 2 LP set has superb Double Plus (A++) sound on all four sides and plays about as quietly as these pressings ever do
  • We know of no better way to hear these legendary mono recordings - these are by far the best sounding pressings of both these albums we've yet to play
  • 4 1/2 stars: "When Thelonious Monk first signed with Riverside Records in 1955, producer Orrin Keepnews thought that it would be a good idea for the unrecognized giant to record an album of Duke Ellington compositions and follow it up with a set of standards so as to discount his eccentric and forbidding image. The results were quite satisfying, trio performances that made Monk's playing seem more accessible to the regular jazz audience without watering down his style."
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Super Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Underground

  (Item #: monk_under_1902_1906) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Charlie Rouse's sax is just right - natural with lots of body and breath - we love that sound
  • So many copies just sound like an old jazz record, but this one lets you feel like you are right there as the music happens
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The instantly recognizable stride piano lines are delivered with the same urgency and precision that they possessed over two decades earlier..."
See all of our Thelonious Monk albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Misterioso (Recorded On Tour)

  (Item #: monk_miste_1908) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • This early stereo pressing on the White Print 360 Label had excellent sound throughout with each side rating a solid Double Plus (A++) - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The overall sound here is full-bodied and spacious - Monk's passionate playing really shines, as does that of longtime bandmate Charlie Rouse's on sax
  • This is an excellent collection of live material recorded on tour from 1963 - 1965, with Columbia's engineers and producers (Teo Macero in this case) providing strong support, giving Monk the freedom to be his usual enigmatic self
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Super Hot Stamper

Thelonious Monk
Monk's Dream

  (Item #: monk_monks_1908) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • An outstanding Columbia 360 pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from start to finish
  • These sides are rich, spacious, big and Tubey Magical, with less smear on the piano, a problem that holds many copies back
  • The sound found on these early Columbia 360 Label Stereo pressings is absolutely the right one for Monk's music
  • 5 stars: "Although he would perform and record supported by various other musicians, the tight -- almost telepathic -- dimensions that these four shared has rarely been equalled in any genre... Monk's Dream is recommended, with something for every degree of Monk enthusiast."
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Miles Davis - Thelonious Monk - Miles & Monk at Newport

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: davismiles_and_monk_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Columbia 360 LP has EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD LIVE JAZZ SOUND, but only on the Monk side. It sounds, to my mind, probably as good as this record can sound. It's very rich and full-bodied with a very strong bottom end. The energy and presence are WONDERFUL! Monk's piano has real weight and the brass sounds just right. We played this against a few other copies and none of them came close. We give side two an A++ -- I don't think you can find one that sounds any better.

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Our Favorite Studios (First of a Series)

Columbia 30th Street Studios

  (Item #: allcolumbia30th) 



Columbia 30th Street Studios is one of our favorite recording venues. Click on the link above to find our in-stock Hot Stamper pressings of albums recorded at that location from 1949 to 1981. The list of recordings made there stretches from West Side Story to Kind of Blue, all the way up to Pink Floyd's The Wall in 1979. (Who knew?)
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The Recordings of Thelonious Monk

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: monk_thelonious) 



These are just some of the recordings by Thelonious Monk that we've auditioned recently and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Thelonious Monk Albums with Hot Stampers

Thelonious Monk Albums We've Reviewed



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Thelonious Monk - Big Band and Quartet

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: monk_bigba_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

An amazingly well-recorded Big Band Concert from 1963, and these White Hot sides make the case like nothing you have ever heard. Our early pressing here is so rich, Tubey Magical, spacious and lively we simply could not fault the sound. Monk alternates between a 10 piece Big Band and his standard quartet, with magical results.

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Thelonious Monk - Big Band and Quartet

The Glorious Sound of Tubes - 1963 Tubes, That Is

  (Item #: monk_bigba_tubes) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings.

On this record, more than most, the tubes potentially make all the difference.

Keep in mind that we are referring specifically to 1963 tubes, not the stuff that engineers are using today to make "tube-mastered" records. Today's modern records barely hint at the Tubey Magical sound of a record like this, if our experience with hundreds of them is any guide. We, unlike so many of the audiophile reviewers of today, have a very hard time taking any of the new pressings seriously. We think our position is pretty clear, and we have yet to hear more than a stray record or two that would make us want to change our minds.

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Thelonious Monk - Criss-Cross

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: monk_criss_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

WONDERFUL MUSIC, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, and QUIET VINYL! I wish more Blue Note records had this kind of sound -- natural, full-bodied, and sweet up top. The bass here is well-defined with real weight and lots of punch. Monk’s piano sounds correct from the highest notes all the way down to the lower register, and the sax sounds JUST RIGHT -- totally free of the RVG squawk. ’The clarity and transparency are superb throughout. AMG raves about the album and calls it prime Monk for any degree of listener and we couldn’t agree more.

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Thelonious Monk - It's Monk's Time

Getting the Balance Right

  (Item #: monk_itsmo_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of It's Monk's Time

There are three main elements that comprise the sound of It's Monk's Time: piano, sax and drums. You need all three to be balanced and correct. The mix is perfection on the best copies, with the piano, sax and drums clearly audible and in musically correct proportion to each other.

As we played the sides we noted how each of them fared.

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Thelonious Monk - It's Monk's Time

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: monk_itsmo_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This may be the best sounding Thelonious Monk album to ever hit the site. We can thank the brilliant Columbia engineers for their service to one of the authentic geniuses of jazz.

For some perspective, I can't think of a single Dave Brubeck album that sounds as good as this one.

And if you own the Speakers Corner Heavy Vinyl reissue, please buy this copy and hear what you've been missing.

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Thelonious Monk - Monk's Blues

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: monk_monks_blues_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

WONDERFUL BIG BAND MUSIC, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, and QUIET VINYL! I wish more Blue Note records had this kind of sound -- natural, full-bodied, and sweet up top. The bass here is well-defined with real weight and lots of punch. Monk’s piano sounds correct from the highest notes all the way down to the lower register, and the sax sounds JUST RIGHT -- totally free of the "RVG squawk" we often hear on old Blue Notes. The clarity and transparency are superb throughout.

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Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: monk_monks_dream_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Full, rich, spacious, BIG and PRESENT, with almost no smear. This is Classic Columbia 360 Label sound from their legendary 30th Street studios.

You may notice that very few Monk records go up on the site. We do occasionally find copies with Hot Stampers, but most of those sell directly to our best customers. We hope to be putting more up as time goes on. However, finding clean Monk with good sound is not as easy as it sounds (unless you are willing to pay the big bucks). We do have this one to offer, for those of you who prize adventurous jazz.

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Thelonious Monk - Monk.

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: monk_monk_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Both sides of this copy have STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND! We were absolutely FLOORED by how natural and lifelike this record sounded. The piano has real weight, the bass definition is wonderful, the brass is full-bodied, and the overall sound is warm, sweet, and rich. I would be SHOCKED if there’s a copy out there that could beat this one -- it's a monster.

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Thelonious Monk - Straight, No Chaser

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: monk_strai_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Side two of this 360 pressing from 1967 is nearly White Hot -- what a recording! If you want to hear just how good Monk's great big rich piano sounds, look no further.

Rudy Van Gelder, eat your heart out. This is the piano sound Rudy never quite managed. Some say it's the crappy workhorse piano he had set up in his studio. Others say it was just poorly miked. Rather than speculating on something we know little about (good pianos and the their miking) let's just say that Columbia had the piano, the room and the mics to do it right as you can easily hear on this very record.

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Various Artists - This is Modern Jazz Vol. 2

Japanese 2 LP Box

  (Item #: variothisi_jpn) 



This IMMACULATE Sony CBS Japanese Import 2 LP Box Set with Virtually No Sign of Play (VNSOP) has SHOCKINGLY GOOD sound! It's the rare Japanese pressing that has any merit in our experience. Let's be honest: most of them are just plain awful, having been poorly mastered from sub-generation tapes. (In this respect they seem to have a lot in common with the Heavy Vinyl reissues being produced today, wouldn't you say?)

So you can imagine our surprise when every track we played sounded good -- some very good indeed -- with practically all of it classic jazz of the highest quality. With jazz greats such as Davis, Monk, Brubeck, Farmer, Blakey and Horace Silver, this set comes highly recommended to one and all.


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