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Monk: An Audible And Funny Mishap On A Famous Recording!
We jazz people are allowed to laugh once in a while! I believe you’ll get a good one out of this:
The late drummer Charli (sic) Persip said that his mentor Kenny Clarke brought him to observe the now-famous recording session of Miles Davis and Monk, December 24, 1954. Persip remembered that at one point Monk accidentally knocked over a glass beer bottle sitting on the floor by his left foot. He said that Monk continued to play a little with his right hand while he used his left hand to place the bottle upright.
His interview is here—listen especially starting at 0:50:
Who but I would follow up on this? Nobody else did. What he describes sounds like the famous “master take” (originally issued take) of “Bag’s Groove.” But there is no such distraction audible. I could have left it at that, but then I decided to check the alternate take, which was issued later and is now readily available. In fact, you can hear this on the alternate take of “Bag’s Groove”! At 7:14 you can hear the glass bottle fall over! Monk then plays a chord four times with his right hand, and then there is a pause while he stands the bottle upright with his left hand:
Persip implied that it was the master take—probably he didn’t even know that the alternate had been issued--but in every other way his memory was accurate. What a funny moment, captured on tape!
(By the way—as an adult, Charlie Persip changed the spelling of his name to Charli, reportedly in order to stop having the bad luck of 13 letters in his name.)
I’m working on more Miles posts and one about Jelly Roll Morton—COMING SOON!
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