CD Review – Palo Alto

Palo Alto
Theloious Monk
Impulse Records

As a 16-year-old at Palo Alto High School in California, Danny Scher was a huge fan of Thelonious Monk. He had a dream to invite Monk to perform at his school. He boldly phoned Monk, and to his delight, the invitation was accepted. So, 27th October 1968 saw Thelonious Monk with Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Larry Gales (bass) and Ben Riley (drums) performing in Palo Alto High School auditorium. The school janitor did the recording.

Until now, it stayed in the Scher family attic. Forty-seven minutes of high-energy memorable playing, fed by the enthusiasm of the school crowd. Six well-known tunes from the Monk catalogue, including an energetic 13 minute take on Well, You Needn’t, a particularly impressive solo by Monk in Don’t Blame Me, and an especially lively performance of the popular Epistrophy. Palo Alto is a delight, as is the story of how it came about.

– Christopher Waterhouse

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