Thelonious Monk’s previously unreleased soundtrack to the 1960 French film Les liaisons dangereuses will be out as a 2-LP deluxe boxed set on April 22, for Record Store Day, with a 2-CD version scheduled for release on May 19. The set will be released under the title Thelonious Monk: Les liaisons dangereuses 1960 and is a joint release of two independent labels: Sam Records and Saga Jazz.
Monk’s score was commissioned by the director of the film Roger Vadim, a successful French filmmaker known for such provocative works as And God Created Woman (1956), starring Brigitte Bardot, and Barbarella (1960), starring Jane Fonda. Nonetheless, his 1960 adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ 18th-century epistolary novel Dangerous Liaisons is now largely forgotten and Monk’s soundtrack has never been available outside the context of the film until now.
The music on Thelonious Monk: Les liaisons dangereuses 1960 was recorded at Nola Penthouse Sound Studios on West 57th Street in New York, on July 27, 1959. It features Monk on piano, playing alongside bassist Sam Jones, drummer Art Taylor and tenor saxophonists Charlie Rouse and Barney Wilen.
Although no new music had been composed for this soundtrack, WGBO reports states that it resembles a typical Monk set at the time and that it “reflects the unmistakable cohesion of a working band.”