Not just the greatest pianist of all time, but maybe the most influential jazzman too.
- Genius of Modern Music (Volume One) (1951) A+
- Simply put, one of the greatest artistic achievements of the decade. Even simpler: “Epistrophy” is the most important jazz song of all time.
- Genius of Modern Music (Volume Two) (1952) A
- Pointing the way toward both hard bop and the avant-garde, Thelonious Monk’s Genius of Modern Music series ranks among the most influential recordings of the 20th century. Francis Ford Coppola notwithstanding, this Volume Two may be the greatest sequel of all time. The angular melodies and cubist chord progressions, the eerie harmonies and intrepid piano playing — every last sound is quintessential, idiosyncratic Monk. He is without compare.
- Thelonious Monk Trio (1954) A
- Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins (1955) A
- Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington (1955) A-
- The Unique Thelonious Monk (1956) A
- Brilliant Corners (1957) A+
- Thelonious Himself (1957) A-
- Monk’s Music (1957) A
- Mulligan Meets Monk (1957, with Gerry Mulligan) A-