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Music / Brilliant Corners

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Brilliant Corners is Jazz musician Thelonious Monk's third studio album, released in 1957. In 2003 it was entered in the National Recording Registry.


Side One

  1. "Brilliant Corners" (7:42)
  2. "Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are" (13:24)

Side Two

  1. "Pannonica" (8:50)
  2. "I Surrender, Dear" (5:25)
  3. "Bemsha Swing" (7:42)


  • Thelonious Monk: piano, celesta
  • Ernie Henry: alto saxophone
  • Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone
  • Oscar Pettiford: double bass
  • Max Roach: drums, timpani
  • Clark Terry: trumpet
  • Paul Chambers: double bass


Brilliant Tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: "Brilliant Corners"
  • Alliterative Title: "Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are".
  • Cover Version: "I Surrender Dear", a Bing Crosby song.
  • Epic Rocking: The 13:24 “Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are”.
  • Instrumental: The entire album is instrumental.
  • Face on the Cover: Thelonious' face is even seen several times.
  • Mirror Self: Several mirror reflections of Monk appear on the album cover.
  • One-Word Title: "Pannonica"
  • Record Producer: Orrin Keepnews, without whom the album wouldn't have been completed. The title track "Brilliant Corners" is ferociously hard to play, and at one point Keepnews noticed that he couldn't hear Oscar Pettiford's bass, only to recognise that Pettiford had given up trying to play the tune and was only pantomiming. They never managed to record a complete take of it. The one on the album was edited together by Keepnews from multiple takes.
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  • Something Blues and Spell My Name with an "S": "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-Are", is Monk’s exaggarated pronunciation of “Blue Bolivar Blues”.


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