Jazz Masters Deluxe Collection by Thelonius Monk was released September 10, 2012 on the Entertainment Supplies label, and contains a single disc with 14 great selection tracks. A great compilation of this giant of jazz.
Monk plays mostly solo "standards" of the time, including Gershwin tunes and others. It's actually interesting to hear him play straight melodies and chords– not to say that he doesn't do his usual chromatic and Lydian scale magic, throwing in some cool stride-style embellishment when appropriate to the music. If you dig Monk, it would be hard not to enjoy this well-recorded and engineered album of Monk breaking down and reworking the standards.
Reissue. The latest remastering. Features the high-fidelity Blu-spec CD2 format. Bonus tracks. Monk was a perfectionist not always well-understood by the public or even the musicians of his day. All his other recordings involve other musicians with whom he must interact with varying results. This sometimes makes it difficult to hear Monk as himself rather than as an ensemble player. But this recording gives us a great window into Monk's musical soul unencumbered with any exogenous distractions. One gets the feeling that Monk is playing for himself with no one else in the room. Production values are nil: just Monk and a piano in a bare studio. It is a privelege to be able to eavesdrop on his private explorations of themes of, presumably, his own choosing. Having bonus tracks with 'duplicate' songs is a genuine positive; it allows you to hear Monk's differing approaches to the same material.