The tapes of these two 1964 San Francisco shows stayed locked up at Columbia Records until the label drew a double-LP from them shortly after Monk's death in 1982. Never issued on CD in the U.S., that album is now superseded by this packed document that nearly doubles its length, restores edited portions of several performances, and adds a dozen performances that sometimes better the original recordings. Monk, saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Larry Gales, and drummer Ben Riley are unsurprisingly on point for the dates, which are filled with numerous classics from the Thelonious book.
All the rave reviews about this album are justified; this is a superb, sizzling, and very soulful live recording from 1970. According to the liner notes this recording was made "almost as an afterthought" by Blue Note. But afterwards, the label decided not to release the show, keeping it in the Blue Note vaults until it finally saw the light of day in 2000. But patience is rewarded; this is a fantastic album.
Recorded in 1970 but not released until 1996, Live At the "It Club" shows the Three Sounds pulling out funky, gritty rhythms out of their basic bluesy hard-bop sound. The group's funky influences are most noticeable in the rhythm section of drummer Carl Burnette and bassist Henry Franklin, who had been playing with Harris for only a short time when this set was recorded. The rhythm section pushes Harris, making the music loose and swinging – the groove matters more than anything on the album. Occasionally, the energy of the Three Sounds lags, but Live at the "It Club" is an enjoyable piece of grooving soul-jazz.
The Thelonious Monk Quartet with Charlie Rouse lasted eleven years. October 31 and November 1, 1964 at the It Club in Los Angeles were just two more nights out of thousands for them, except when it comes to Monk, there were no ordinary nights. Rouse in his sixth year with Monk had hit his stride, truly becoming Monk's musical alter ego. Remarkably, drummer Ben Riley had joined the quartet at the beginning of 1964 and bassist Larry Gales had only logged in a month at the time of this taping; yet they already show the first signs of collective greatness on these evenings.
Steve Earle & The Dukes ride down "Copperhead Road" again with the concert release "Live From The Continental Club," recorded in Austin, Texas. This exclusive to indie double LP contains 20 live songs and covers a ton of ground through Earle's long career.