Song of the Day: Thelonious Monk – “Humph”

Nine-day festival to celebrate Thelonious Monk in Birmingham, U.K., on June 12-20

On this day (October 15) in 1947, pianist Thelonious Monk pressed his first recordings as a leader as part of a recording session for Blue Note Records. That now-famous session kicked off with the loping bebop track “Humph,” which we present here as our Song of the Day. The composition, which featured a young musician from Pittsburgh named Art Blakey on drums, is a lesser-known gem in the Monk canon, but it still evinces the same quirky melodic Cubism of his more famous tunes. This version comes from the 1994 compilation The Complete Blue Note Recordings on Universal Music. In addition to Monk and Blakey, it features the great Idrees Sulieman on trumpet, Danny Quebec West on alto saxophone, Billy Smith on tenor and Gene Ramey on bass.

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