Thelonious Himself

Thelonious Himself
Studio album by Thelonious Monk
Released 1957
Recorded April 5 and 16, 1957
New York City
Genre Jazz
Length 66:28
Label Riverside
RLP 12-235
Producer Orrin Keepnews
Thelonious Monk chronology
Brilliant Corners
Thelonious Himself
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane

Thelonious Himself is a studio album by Thelonious Monk released in 1957 via Riverside Records,[1] his fourth for the label. The album is notable for featuring Monk on solo piano almost exclusively. The only non-solo performance on the album is the last track, "Monk's Mood", which features John Coltrane on tenor saxophone and Wilbur Ware on bass. (Monk had previously recorded a solo piano album in Paris during June 1954.)[2]

The original CD reissue, released in 1987 via Original Jazz Classics/Riverside Records, includes an extensive 22-minute solo recording of "'Round Midnight" outtakes and experimentation in the studio. A subsequent reissue, the Keepnews Collection edition, released in 2008 via Riverside Records, omits this sequence in favor of outtakes and alternate versions of several other tracks from the album. In the liner notes, Keepnews states that including the original "'Round Midnight" outtake "would have required eliminating virtually every existing alternate take of other selections — five other examples of this pianist's improvisational genius."

Critical reception

Music critic Robert Christgau said Thelonious Himself is "probably [Monk's] best" solo album,[3] while Down Beat magazine gave it five stars and called it "highly recommended".[4] In All Music Guide (2001), jazz critic Scott Yanow gave the album four stars out of five and did not find it as important but still intriguing because "Monk's hesitant stride and thoughtful yet unpredictable flights are always a joy to hear".[5]

Track listing

Original vinyl release (1957)

Side One

  1. April in Paris
  2. Ghost of a Chance
  3. Functional
  4. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

Side Two

  1. I Should Care
  2. 'Round Midnight
  3. All Alone
  4. Monk's Mood — featuring John Coltrane, Wilbur Ware

Original CD reissue (1987)

  1. "April in Paris" – 3:50
  2. "(I Don't Stand) A Ghost of a Chance (With You)" – 4:21
  3. "Functional" – 9:18
  4. "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" – 4:03
  5. "I Should Care" – 3:14
  6. "'Round Midnight" – 6:39
  7. "All Alone" – 4:49
  8. "Monk's Mood" - 7:49
  9. "'Round Midnight (in progress)" - 21:59

Keepnews Collection reissue (2008)

  1. "April in Paris" – 3:54
  2. "(I Don't Stand) A Ghost of a Chance (With You)" – 4:24
  3. "Functional (take 2)" – 9:22
  4. "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" – 4:08
  5. "I Should Care (take 3)" – 3:15
  6. "'Round Midnight" – 6:44
  7. "All Alone" – 4:53
  8. "Monk's Mood (false start)" - :58
  9. "Monk's Mood" - 7:53
  10. "(I Don't Stand) A Ghost of a Chance (With You)" – 4:13
  11. "Functional (take 1)" – 9:44
  12. "I Should Care (take 1)" – 3:29
  13. "I Should Care (take 2)" – 3:18



  1. Thelonious Himself at AllMusic
  2. Thelonious Himself at AllMusic
  3. Christgau, Robert (2009). "Not So Misterioso". The Barnes & Noble Review. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  4. "Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Himself CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  5. Yanow, Scott (2001). "Thelonious Himself". In Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 1334. ISBN 0879306270.
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