“The Unique Thelonius Monk” received excellent reviews. Nat Hentoff in “Down Beat” gave it “four and a half stars” because Monk remains “one of the insatiably, irrepressibly, and valuably individual jazzmen in our era.” He “has an intense sense of drama (not melodrama) that can create a reflectively dissonant, almost hypnotic mood . . . and a sharply knifed penchant for shaping and reshaping a few key phrases into a hail of plunging aural mobiles.” Whitney Balliett from “The Saturday Review” called it “an essential record”. He said: “Monk's style—loose, almost diffident dissonances, wry single-note lines, a laggard-like beat—is easily plumbed. Here he winds his way . . . keeping the melody always just below the surface and embellishing it more than reworking its chords. . . .”
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