Night Lights Classic Jazz

Sonnymoon: Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins

When Rollins met Monk: the saxophonist was a hip, humorous, and musically expert foil for the brilliant corners of the pianist's mind.

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thelonious monk & sonny rollins

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Monk and Rollins: a meeting of two immense musical minds.

This week on Night Lights we honor Sonny Rollins’ upcoming 75th birthday (Sept. 7, 2005) with “Sonnymoon,” a program of Rollins’ recordings with piano giant Thelonious Monk. Monk forged a musical friendship with Rollins when the tenor saxophonist was still in his teens, a friendship that eventually produced some of the 1950s’ most compelling jazz records. We’ll hear selections from Monk and Rollins’ dates for Prestige, their meeting on Monk’s Riverside LP Brilliant Corners, and a final studio encounter, recorded for Blue Note in 1957, in which Monk plays musical piano chairs with Horace Silver on the Monk tune “Misterioso.”

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)

Notes: Opening theme.

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Let's Call This
Thelonious Monk — Thelonious Monk Quintet (Prestige, 1953)
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I Want to Be Happy
Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins — Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins (Prestige, 1954)
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The Way You Look Tonight
Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins — Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins (Prestige, 1954)
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Brilliant Corners
Thelonious Monk — Brilliant Corners (Riverside, 1956)
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More Than You Know
Sonny Rollins — Moving Out (Prestige, 1954)

Notes: Music-bed for break

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Pannonica
Thelonious Monk — Brilliant Corners (Riverside, 1956)
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Misterioso
Sonny Rollins — V. 2 (Blue Note, 1957)

Notes: Thelonious Monk & Horace Silver alternate on piano.

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Reflections
Sonny Rollins — V. 2 (Blue Note, 1957)
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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Philips, 1963)

Notes: Closing theme.

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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