10. Thelonious Monk, 'Les Liasons dangereuses 1960'
It is a rare and wonderful day, in any year, to receive the blessing of nearly 90 minutes of previously unreleased – actually, forgotten – Monk. This two-CD set, on the 100th anniversary of the pianist's birth, is a unique gift: Monk in spirited form on a single day, July 27th, 1959, at a New York studio leading a one-off unit with two tenor saxophonists, regular sidekick Charlie Rouse and a French guest, Barney Wilen. The occasion was a soundtrack commission – Roger Vadim's contemporary adaption of the 18th-century novel of sexual manipulation Les Liasons dangereuses. The repertoire was Monk's greatest hits, including new takes on "Rhythm-a-Ning," "Crepescule with Nellie" and "Pannonica," performed solo as well as with the band. Monk's score was never used (Vadim hired Monk's ex-drummer Art Blakey); the tapes finally surfaced in 2014. It is only one day in the life of a genuine American master, but what a day.