Thelonious Monk, Frank Sinatra and More: My Albums of the Week #17

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.


Thelonious Monk
Straight, No Chaser
(Columbia, 1967)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Locomotive // 2 – I Didn’t Know About You // 3 – Straight, No Chaser // 4 – Japanese Folk Song // 6 – Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea // 7 – We See

One of the quintessential releases by Thelonious Monk and a true showcase of his idiosyncratic jazz style. Monk could say less with more but this is also about his tightknit band, featuring among others longtime collaborator Charlie Rouse on saxophone. The material is particularly inspired, ranging from the memorable title track to an ambitious take on “Japanese Folk Song.”

Frank Sinatra
Sinatra Sings Days of Wine and Roses, Moon River and Other Academy Award Winners
(Reprise, 1964)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Days of Wine and Roses // 2 – Moon River // 3 – The Way You Look Tonight // 4 – Three Coins in the Fountain // 5 – In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening // 6 – Secret Love // 7 – Swinging on a Star // 8 – It Might As Well Be Spring // 9 – The Continental // 10 – Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing // 11 – All the Way

Frank Sinatra, often billed as the originator of the concept album, compiles a list of Academy Award-winning songs and makes them his with the aid of longtime creative partner Nelson Riddle. Some of the tracks became Sinatra staples, including “The Way You Look Tonight” and “All the Way.”


Wes Montgomery
(Verve, 1966)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Tequila // 2 – Little Child (Daddy Dear) // 3 – What the World Needs Now Is Love // 4 – The Big Hurt // 5 – Bumpin’ on Sunset // 6 – How Insensitive // 7 – The Thumb // 8 – Midnight Mood

This Latin-tinged session benefits from the top rate of Verve production quality. It may not be his most ambitious release. However, as his guitar is front and center, this trio recording shows why connoisseurs regard Wes Montgomery as the godfather of smooth jazz.


Khana Bierbood
Strangers from the Far East
(Guruguru Brain, 2019)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Rustic Song // 2 – Starshine // 3 – Plankton Bloom // 4 – Jeanmaryn // 5 – Bad Trip // 6 – Dusty Lane // 7 – Bangasean Lady

A transcendental blend of American surf music and garage rock with a Thai twist. Should please fans of contemporary lo-fi music with an exotic twist. But aside from the awesome “Starshine,” the album itself is a little too short on material.


Nubiyan Twist
Nubiyan Twist
(Wormfood, 2015)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Turu // 2 – Work House // 3 – Straight Lines // 4 – Hypnotised // 5 – Figure Numatic // 6 – Shake Me Down // 7 – Hypnotised – Chief Rockers Remix

As great an opening statement as they come. This is the debut album from one of the stellar, multi-cultural ensembles from the eclectic contemporary UK jazz scene. Influences range from modern urban to traditions across Latin America and the African diaspora. And the wide-ranging yet cohesive tracklist shows a wealth of ideas, great grooves and awesome musicianship.

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