Those stopping into the Cooper Square coolsville on December 26, 1957 got to hear the last night of Thelonious Monk‘s landmark run. The bandleader called the Five Spot home for six months, a career turning point that furthered Monk’s name and generated an enormous amount of great music. The clip above is from The Sound of Jazz show, filmed a few weeks prior. The pianist’s Five Spot foil John Coltrane isn’t around for the cameras. He is part of this joyous Carnegie Hall gig on November 29, however – also recorded during these weeks.
The essential new bio by Robin D.G. Kelley tells us that Monk was irked that Count Basie was positioned at the side of his instrument, scrutinizing each new phrase that spilled from his fingers. Kelley rolls out info and insight on almost every page, and there’s an especially vivid chapter about the scene that blossomed around the Bowery bar during Monk’s reign.