* First Release. Includes 12-page 8" x 8" booklet with photos, essays and credits, as well a 12-page 5.25" x 8.25" replica concert program by the Palo Alto High School International Club, and 16.5" x 10.5" replica concert poster. * Palo Alto is a previously unknown and unreleased live Thelonious Monk recording. After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, racial tensions across the country rose. Palo Alto, a largely white college town in California, was not immune to the events of the day. Danny Scher, a rising junior at Palo Alto High School, had a dream to bring Thelonious Monk to Palo Alto to perform and help bring about racial unity in his community as well as raise funds for his school’s International Committee.
After somehow securing Monk’s services to perform on Sunday, October 27, Scher initially had trouble selling tickets and convincing people that Monk was even going to show up. With many twists and turns along the way and several hundred people waiting in the school’s parking lot to await Monk’s arrival before purchasing tickets, the concert eventually happened and was a triumph in more ways that Monk or Scher could have imagined. This is a recording of that historic concert. The band is Thelonious Monk – piano / Charlie Rouse – tenor saxophone / Larry Gales – bass / Ben Riley – drums.
Yet despite that setting, the vibe here is as relaxed, open, and human as if the combo were playing at an overseas club – very personal presentation of the best ideals inherent in Monk's piano, Charlie Rouse's tenor, Larry Gales' bass, and the drums of Ben Riley! Monk had been having some health issues during the year, but they don't show up at all in his performance – save for maybe a sense of brooding darkness at times, although that was always a quality that might appear in his performance. The music is every bit as essential as the London recordings that would emerge a few years later.