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 Posted:   Feb 26, 2012 - 6:55 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

The soundtrack for this film is somewhat confusing.

It was supposed to be written by pianist Duke Jordan, for some reason under the pseudonym Jack Marray, and performed by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (with Jordan on Piano).

For some reason, Jordan's music was restricted to only a (fairly lengthy) party scene in the film, and replaced elsewhere with Thelonius Monk music.

There is an Art Blakey "soundtrack" album, released on Fontana in Europe and Epic in the US. Duke Jordan also released his own soundtrack album on Charlie Parker records. I've had the latter for ages, and picked up the Art Blakey in more recent years. Both feature Jordan's music, especially variations on the track "No Problem," which is featured prominently in the party scene.

Interestingly, according to David Meeker's "Jazz in the Movies," the Monk contributions were recorded in New York in 1959 specifically for the film, but they have apparently never been released on LP or CD. Charlie Rouse is on tenor. (He had just recently joined Monk). The tunes consist of material that Monk was generally playing in 1958 and 59:

'Crepescule with Nellie'
'Ba-lue bolivar ba-lues-are'
'Rhythm-a-ning'
'Well you needn't'
'Light blue'
Pannonica'
one other (unidentified).

It would not be difficult in theory to assemble a Monk pseudo-soundtrack album with released versions of these tunes, generally from this period, with Rouse on tenor.

But I wonder about those original recordings. The session is not listed in the Monk discography at Jazz Discographies. I wonder if the tapes exist, and if so, some enterprising label could release them.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2012 - 1:57 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

This is from a March 1988 interview with recording session supervisor Marcel Romano:

“The very first project for Les Liaisons Dangereuses was to record Thelonious Monk in Paris during a tour that in fact had to be cancelled. So I had to go to New York with the screenplay and precise timings for each scene so I could organize the recording at Nola Studio. Part of the music was recorded by Monk with Sam Jones on bass, Art Taylor on drums, and Charlie Rouse and Barney Wilen on tenor saxes.

“You can hear this session in the film, but it was never issued on record. The second session was recorded over the two days following the session with Thelonious Monk. . . . The titles recorded by [Art Blakey’s] group became the soundtrack to the party-scenes at Miguel’s, where you can see the quintet [with] Kenny Dorham, Duke Jordan and Barney Wilen onscreen. . . . Duke Jordan had been very active in the preparation of these sessions, but he only recorded “Prelude In Blue.”


The Art Blakey recordings were made on July 28 and 29, 1959, in New York, which would place the Monk session on July 27. Duke Jordan re-recorded some of the film tracks 3 years later with Charlie Rouse (ts), Sonny Cohn (tp), Eddie Cahn (b), and Art Taylor (dm). These were the sessions that were released on Charlie Parker Records PLP 813.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2012 - 2:51 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Thanks Bob.

Wouldn't it be great if a label (Quartet?) could get its paws on the Monk tracks and issue a companion album to the existing Art Blakey album?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 27, 2012 - 9:04 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

...

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2012 - 12:41 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

An online Thelonious Monk sessionography provides the following information:

July 27, 1959

Nola Studios, New York
Thelonious Monk Quintet
Personnel: Charlie Rouse, Bernard “Barney” Wilen (ts); Thelonious Monk (p); Sam Jones (b); Arthur Taylor (d).

Monk’s Mood
Crepuscule with Nellie
Off Minor
Let’s Cool One
Let’s Cool One
Rhythm-a-ning
Epistrophy
Epistrophy
Pannonica
Pannonica
Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are
Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are
We’ll Understand it Better By and By
Untitled blues (p-solo)
Epistrophy
Epistrophy

Notes: This recording was made for the soundtrack to the film, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (See Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, pp. 269-71). Parts of these tunes can be heard on the video version (Castle Pictures VHS CAS9021). Barney Wilen only plays on “Rhythm-a-ning” and “Crepuscule with Nellie.”

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2012 - 1:20 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Here is some information on the Monk compositions that he recorded in that July 27, 1959, session for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, as compiled by Robin D. G. Kelly. This indicates that none of the music for the film was original.

Monk’s Mood - One of Monk’s early ballads, he gave it several different titles before settling on “Monk’s Mood,” (i.e., That’s the Way I Feel Now, Feeling that Way Now, Why Do You Evade the Facts, and Be Merrier Sarah). He had conceived of the song with lyrics. Monk first recorded “Monk’s Mood” on November 21, 1947 (Blue Note 1565) Lyrics were added by Soesja Citroen and recorded under the title, Underneath This Cover.

Crepuscule with Nellie - First recorded on June 25, 1957 (although the first released take was recorded the following day [Riverside RLP12-242]), this beautiful ballad is unusual in that it is his only composition played straight through without improvisation. “Crepuscule” was written in 1957 while Nellie was in the hospital to undergo surgery. Monk had come up with the title “Twilight with Nellie” but the Baroness, who was at the hospital at the time, promptly suggested the French word for twilight: “crépuscule.” Soesja Citroen added lyrics and recorded it as In Twilight.

Off Minor (aka What Now) - Was actually first recorded in January of 1947, but not by Monk. Bud Powell was the first to put “Off Minor” on wax when he was with Cootie Williams’s Orchestra. Monk first recorded it on October 24, 1947 (Blue Note ). Also, Dizzy Gillespie’s big band had intended on using it in their book. It stands among Monk’s more frequently recorded tunes. It is so named probably because it is written in G minor but never resolves on the tonic.

Let’s Cool One - First recorded in on May 30, 1952 (Blue Note 1602, 1511), it was probably given that name because it is a relaxed, medium tempo tune without a lot of intervallic leaps. The songs recorded just prior to “Let’s Cool One” were complex, up tempo tunes like “Skippy” (three takes) “Hornin’ In” (two takes), and “Sixteen” (two takes), which apparently required a lot more work-even from a band made up of bebop’s top musicians. “Let’s Cool One” was done in one take. Soesja Citroen added lyrics and recorded it as Come With Me.

Rhythm-a-ning - One of Monk’s most recorded and performed songs, he doesn’t actually put it on wax under this title until May 15, 1957, at a recording session led by drummer Art Blakey (Atlantic 1278). Monk certainly made the melody his own, but the truth is that the “A” section of Rhythm-a-ning can be heard as early as 1936, on Mary Lou Williams’s arrangement of “Walking and Swinging” twenty-six bars into the second chorus. The same melodic line was claimed by guitarist Charlie Christian (with whom Monk played at Minton’s Playhouse) as Pagin’ Doctor Christian or Meet Dr. Christian, by Al Haig as “Opus Caprice,” and by Sonny Stitt as “Symphony Hall Swing.” Indeed, on one recording from Minton’s in 1941, Monk is identified as the pianist on a version of the song listed as Meet Dr. Christian. But in the end, Monk would eventually seize ownership of the tune and make it distinctively his own. The title, of course, references the fact that it is based on the chord changes to Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm,” popularly known in the bebop world as “rhythm changes.” Jon Hendricks added lyrics and retitled it Listen to Monk. And again, several vocalists recorded it.

Epistrophy - One of Monk’s earliest compositions, it was co-written with drummer Kenny Clarke and went by various names; Clarke called it Fly Right or Fly Rite, it was called Iambic Pentameter, and known, too, as simply “The Theme” since it was used by Minton’s House band to open and close a set. It was first recorded by the Minton’s House band on June 7, 1941, but the first version that Monk issued appeared on his first Blue Note recordings (July 2, 1948, Blue Note 548, 1510). Giacomo Gates added lyrics and recorded it under Kenny Clarke’s title, Fly Rite.

Pannonica - First released recording was made on October 9, 1956 (Riverside RLP12-226). The song was written for the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, whom Monk had met in Paris in June of 1954. This first recorded version of “Pannonica” is significant in that Monk plays both piano and celeste. Jon Hendricks added lyrics and retitled it “Little Butterfly.”

Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-Are (aka Bolivar Blues) - First recorded October 9, 1956 (Riverside LP12-226) The title refers to the Hotel Bolivar in Manhattan, then the home of the Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter.

The song "We'll Understand It Better By and By" was not composed by Monk, but is a hymn composed by Charles Albert Tindley in 1905. Monk recorded a solo piano version of the song for the film.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2012 - 4:14 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Here is some information on the Monk compositions that he recorded in that July 27, 1959, session for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, as compiled by Robin D. G. Kelly. This indicates that none of the music for the film was original.

Of course, none of these were written for the film. They are all well known Monk Tunes.

However, the session information leaves out "Well You Needn't" and "Light Blue," Both of which are clearly heard in the film. I wonder if they simply used versions from records.

So, the list should be:

Monk’s Mood
Crepuscule with Nellie
Off Minor
Let’s Cool One
Rhythm-a-ning
Epistrophy
Pannonica
Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are
We’ll Understand it Better By and By
Untitled blues (p-solo)
Light Blue
Well You Needn't

Thanks for finding this Bob. It is not listed on the Jazz Discography Website.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2012 - 11:59 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

However, the session information leaves out "Well You Needn't" and "Light Blue," Both of which are clearly heard in the film. I wonder if they simply used versions from records.


Well You Needn’t - First recorded for Blue Note (549) on October 24, 1947, it is one of Monk’s most recorded and most popular tunes, and a very good example of Monk’s penchant for chromatic harmonic motion.

Light Blue - The first recorded evidence of this tune comes from a radio broadcast from Pep’s Music Lounge in Philadelphia, where Monk led a trio on February 9, 1957, consisting of Jimmy Bond on bass and Albert “Tootie” Heath on drums. Interestingly, the first official recording of “Light Blue” was also live, this time at the Five Spot Café on August 7, 1958. It is not a blues but rather a sixteen-bar theme played at a slow, plodding tempo built on descending chord progressions.

 
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