Dave Ratcliffe Piano

Thelonious Monk:
Crepuscule With Nellie     
From: Monk’s Music: THELONIOUS MONK Septet
June 26, 1957, Riverside LP 242, CD 1102.

This is a very partial transcription of the first half of the Take 6 / Mono version. In the early ’80s, I found my way to the 1973 Monk/Trane reissue. From this, I was inspired to work out a crude form of Monk’s piano-in-the-foreground from the first 2:07 minutes before the horns enter. Up to 2024, I had simply learned to play an echo of the 1957 recording without making a transcription.

For the March Highlight of the Month Celebrating Thelonious Monk, I recorded a form of what I have played for decades and, wanting to make some kind of score complementing this, worked up the copy presented here. Looking back, and listening anew to the original, I hear numerous shortcuts I made so long ago. Beyond this, working out a form of notation that to some degree reflects what Monk plays is a very crude approximation at best. In the end, I am glad after the ensuing decades, to finally have something to read to better understand how the form of this composition works.

In preparing this, I found a transcription with in-depth chord analysis presenting the author’s reasoning for notating this in the key of Ab major. I am grateful to have found jazzforpiano.com as it contains a wealth of backgrounders on the foundational structures—not only for improvisation—of music: rhythm, intervals, chords, scales, aural logic, and changes.