"With Coltrane at Carnegie Hall" is the most famous live album with Monk and John Coltrane performing together. It was recorded at a Thanksgiving benefit concert in Harlem, where several other jazz greats performed. This recording captures two separate sets performed by the Monk Quartet and Coltrane that night. It’s one of the best recordings of the two playing together and is a worthwhile addition to any jazz collection.
When people talk about music, they often point toward a few great characters who changed everything all on their own. But the reality is often stranger and more complicated than even a handful of great people. Thelonious Monk was one of those shadow characters who impacted jazz’s modern age as strongly as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis but never got the mainstream credit. The jazz pianist and composer was an early creator of bebop which dominated post-war jazz but would remain largely invisible until collaborating with John Coltrane. He popularized harmonic techniques that avant-garde jazz would become known for in the ‘60s and onwards. He finally received serious recognition by the early ‘60s as one of the most influential jazz composers of the century.