7 LPs comprise The Riverside Tenor Sessions by Thelonious Monk. This set is called the Tenor Sessions because these albums feature prominent tenor sax players like Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin, Charlie Rouse and Harold Land. The LPs are listed below.
1. Brilliant Corners
2. Monk’s Music
3. Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
4. Thelonious in Action
6. 5 by Monk by 5
7. Thelonious Monk Quartet Plus Two at the Blackhawk
I recently posted about John Hermansader, one of the early designers for Blue Note records. Prior to Hermansader, an early designer for Blue Note was Paul Bacon. Mr. Bacon designed 10” album covers, many of which are famous in their own right. He then went on to design covers for Riverside Records. Some of his most recognizable work are his Thelonious Monk covers. If you have a classic album on Riverside, Paul Bacon probably designed the cover.
Sonny Rollins - The Sound of Sonny
Rollins is joined by another Sonny. Sonny Clark.
In addition to Blue Note and Prestige records, I’ve always been a big fan of the output of Riverside records. I feel Riverside doesn’t get the recognition it truly deserves when looking back at the labels that defined jazz music historically. Riverside was a major player. When I think of Riverside, I think of Thelonious Monk. Riverside bought Thelonious Monk’s contract from Prestige for a little over $108. Let that sink in for a minute.
I’m fortunate to have all of Monk’s Riverside recordings. They are all good, especially his work with Coltrane and ‘Brilliant Corners’ with Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry and Max Roach. However, I do have 3 that I enjoy listening to fairly frequently. The first being ‘The Unique Thelonious Monk’. An odd name for an album, considering it’s nothing but Monk playing jazz standards. However, he does it in a way that makes it his own. Art Blakey & Oscar Petiford join him. The other two are ‘Thelonious Alone in San Francisco’ and ‘Thelonious in Action’. These 3 albums are essential. In fact, I enjoyed this period of Monk just as much as his later, more popular work on Columbia.