Review - Monk In Paris: Live At The Olympia

Artist: Thelonious Monk


There's an old story that's long circulated about Thelonious Monk's wife Nellie walking into a jazz shop in lower Manhattan, eyeing a box of bootleg Monk records, glancing at the shop owner and then picking the records up and walking out of the store without paying. She claimed, on her way out, the music wasn't supposed to be sold. (This story, by the way, is widely attributed to Nellie, although many other artists have done exactly the same thing when they spot bootlegs of their material.) Nellie died 20 years after her husband, and it could be said that each of those days was spent solidifying Thelonious' legacy. Thelonious Records is the most outwardly tangible result of that effort, and after a few archival releases that came out on a limited basis, "Live At The Olympia" is the first to receive widespread distribution (via Joel Dorn's Hyena label). This widely bootlegged show from 1965 features Monk's long-dependable quartet of Charlie Rouse, Larry Gales and Ben Riley and, for those accustomed to years of hissy tape quality, this pristine presentation is a joy. A fairly typical set list -- "Well You Needn't," "Rhythm-a-Ning," "Epistrophy" -- is typically emboldened by Monk's busy right hand and a nearly telepathic band. The DVD that's included features three songs recorded a year later in Oslo, but the quality is negligible. Support the cause, baby. Nellie would love you for it.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.