As long ago as 1942, Thelonious Monk had the respect of such contemporaries as Dizzy Gillespie. The music world at large regarded him with less enthusiasm. Many listeners found his playing and compositions bizarre. Some thought his music was akin to a hoax. Slowly, the ability of musicians - then the public - to perceive what he was doing began to catch up with Monk's genius.
By 1955, he was starting to get through to an audience broader than a cell of jazz cognoscenti. Late the next year, he moved to Riverside Records and, following two trio sessions, made Brilliant Corners. Even though the music had plenty of Monkian angularities and difficulties, it reached people. With Brilliant Corners, Monk turned the corner toward popularity.
The title composition, challenging in form and tempo treatment, helped to open listeners' ears to a new freedom that was beginning to permeate jazz. His four new compositions permanently enriched the jazz repertoire.
The All-Star cast - Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, Clark Terry, Oscar Pettiford, and Ernie Henry - help to make this one of Monk's most rewarding albums.
Thelonious Monk, piano, celeste on "Pannonica"
Ernie Henry, alto sax
Sonny Rollins, tenor sax
Oscar Pettiford, bass
Max Roach, drums, timpani on "Bemsha Swing"
On "Bemsha Swing":
Clark Terry, trumpet replaces Henry
Paul Chambers, bass replaces Pettiford
"I Surrender" is an unaccompanied piano solo
1. Brilliant Corners
2. Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are
2. I Surrender, Dear
3. Bemsha Swing