Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins

  • Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins [Prestige, 2006] A

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Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins [Prestige, 2006]
Rollins lays out on two trio numbers and tackles only one Monk tune on this five-track, 34-minute 1954 product. But that performance belongs on both guys' life list: the little-recorded closer "Friday the 13th," an indelible four-note motif Monk made up in the studio that's stated breathily by Rollins and then tossed around for 10 minutes by the principals, MJQ bassist Percy Heath, left-field drummer Willie Jones, and--adding unexpected and melodic textural chutzpah--Julius Watkins on French horn. Supported by original bebopper Tommy Potter and hard-bop stalwart Art Taylor, the Fields-Kern and Caesar-Youmans standards that open ain't Swiss cheese either. A