Dave Ratcliffe Piano

Abide With Me

From Monk’s Music, (Riverside, LP 242, CD 1102, recorded in New York City, 26 June 1957), this is a solo piano version I cooked up in the 1980s of the four-horn arrangement Monk scored (see the score in Transcriptions). As Producer Orrin Keepnews wrote in the original liner notes:

Abide With Me is the 19th Century hymn, always a favorite of Thelonious’ (and, coincidentally, written by one William H. Monk). It is stated here in just under a minute — an instance of the rarer side of the LP-granted freedom to make a piece as long or as short as desired. Only the four horns play in this respectful, straight-forward arrangement that adds unique Monk sonorities to the familiar tune.

Again, from the liner notes, the musicians filling out the roster of the four voices framing the hymn:

Of the four horns on this album, the most noted is of course COLEMAN HAWKINS, literally the first jazz saxophone star, who has remained consistently at or near the top for more than three decades. One of the very few to change effectively with changing jazz tides Hawkins joined with and encouraged modern jazz in the mid-1940’s when most older musicians were busy scorning and misunderstanding it. He remains proud of a band he led on New York’s 52nd Street then, and of its pianist — Thelonious Monk. This LP marks his first reunion with Thelonious in many years, and actually his first real experience with playing Monk’s music. But his rich, deep tones fit the occasion wonderfully well, and so do his superb musicianship and a mind that has never thought in terms of narrow jazz “schools”.

GIGI GRYCE, who has led his own group for Riverside, is a gifted young altoist and arranger who has figured importantly in the success of Oscar Pettiford’s big band. He learned much from a close association with Charlie Parker, but certainly cannot be classed as a mere imitator of Bird. JOHN COLTRANE, one of the most impressive of the young tenor men, first came into real prominence with the Miles Davis Quintet in 1956. Just after the present LP was recorded, he became a key member of Monk’s newly-formed quartet. RAY COPELAND, known to fellow musicians as a fine technician and inventive soloist, has made concert appearances with Thelonious, who is among the many who consider Ray among the most drastically underrated of current jazzmen.