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HOME An Unenviable Situation Buried Treasures Saving 'Rocky Horror' ... And Other Classics He Had The Write Stuff 'Straight, No Chaser' One Day Her Prince Did Come He Bought a Dismal Swamp
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"Straight, No Chaser" was the title of one of Thelonious Monk's most famous compositions and also served as the name of a documentary film of the jazz legend.

Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947 Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, and Teddy Hill, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947

Thousands of words have been written about one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers ever, but nothing can say more about the man than his music. In April 2005, the Library of Congress announced that historically significant concert tapes featuring Monk and iconic saxophonist John Coltrane had been uncovered in the Library's recorded sound collection during preparation for preservation.

The 1957 tapes were recorded at Carnegie Hall by the Voice of America (VOA) for broadcast overseas but have never been heard in the United States. The VOA concert tapes also include performances that same evening by the late Ray Charles, tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and the Zoot Sims Quartet with Chet Baker.

"These tapes are a major find for scholars, musicians and collectors of postwar jazz," said Larry Appelbaum, the Library's recording engineer and jazz specialist in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, who found the tapes among material to be digitized as part of the Library's continuing audio preservation program. "A significant discovery like this reminds us why it's so important to preserve these unique materials."

The content of VOA's original 10-inch mono acetate tapes of the Carnegie Hall concert will be preserved in high-resolution digital files, which will be stored and backed up on the Library's servers. Along with introductions by VOA program host Willis Conover, the tapes feature approximately 55 minutes of previously unheard Monk and Coltrane and early and late show performances by all of the groups who performed that evening. The Monk Quartet with Coltrane plays "Evidence," "Monk's Mood," " Crepescule with Nellie," "Nutty," "Epistrophy," "Bye-Ya, Sweet and Lovely" and "Blue Monk."

This extraordinary concert recording can be purchased through the Library's Sales Shop.

Also, more than 1,600 items related to jazz, a uniquely American art form, are in American Memory. Type "jazz" in the search box and begin your visual journey.

A. William P. Gottlieb, photographer. [Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947]. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-GLB23-0627 DLC (b&w film neg.); Call No.: LC-GLB23- 0627

B. William P. Gottlieb, photographer. [Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, and Teddy Hill, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947]. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-GLB23-0620 DLC (b&w film neg.); Call No.: LC-GLB23- 0620