Impulse! Records and Legacy Recordings have released the highly anticipated Thelonious Monk live album Palo Alto.
The 47-minute record captures the legendary musician performing six songs in 1968 at the Palo Alto High School in California, ranging from his early career composition “Ruby, My Dear” to “Blue Monk” and a Rudy Vallee cover “I Love You (Sweetheart of All My Dreams).”
The show was booked by then-student Danny Scher, who ended up with a signed poster and a tape recording of Monk’s performance—which was left in a box in his attic for decades. After Scher rediscovered the tape, he got in touch with Monk’s son TS Monk to release it.
Palo Alto captures Monk and his band—drummer Ben Riley, the tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse and the bassist Larry Gales—at a creative peak, Monk biographer Robin DG Kelley told the New York Times.
“It was a great band, and it was just about to break up, so this is one of the last recordings of this particular configuration,” Kelly remarked. “You get a sense that Ben Riley and Larry Gales, they’re playing as if it’s their last concert. They know they’re about to cut out, so they’re going to come in there and just blow.”
Palo Alto was originally scheduled for release in July this year but was delayed due to circumstances outside of Impulse! Records’ control, a representative told Pitchfork. Now, the album is finally out, with physical editions released by Impulse and the digital release handled by Legacy Recordings.
Listen to the album below: