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Thelonious Monk
Crepuscule With Nellie


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Thelonious Monk - Crepescule with Nellie (1963)

From Thelonious Monk - The Life and Times of an American Original:

Monk had started composing a piece for Nellie just when she fell ill. He worked on it throughout the month of May [1957] between home and the Algonquin, and Nica [the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter] captured a “draft” of it on tape during one of Coltrane’s visits. Monk wanted to call it “Twilight with Nellie,” but the Baroness promptly suggested he use the French word for twilight: crepuscule. It became his obsession. He conceived of it as a through-composed piece—there would be no improvisation, no variation, just a concise arrangement. “Crepuscule with Nellie” was to be his concerto and he wanted it to be perfect. Driven to mania, he stayed up many nights wrestling with the song’s middle or bridge. He was desperate to finish the song because he feared he might lose his precious wife.

At the end, listen for producer Teo Macero’s “Yeah! That’s wild!”

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