Betweent 1947 and 1952 Blue Note dates at WOR studios in New York City with pianist Thelonius Monk. Many of Alfred Lion's close associates scoffed at this, and urged the Blue Note founder to release more records by the more technically proficient and better known Bud Powell, citing the labels shaky financial situation as reason enough for doing so. Alfred didn't care, the sheer joy he felt in hearing every new Monk composition firmed his resolve to get as much as he could on tape, and he was also painfully aware of Bud's worsening mental health. At the time, Monk wasn't thought of as being skilled enough to lead or compose, but Lion believed in the strength of the material, and painstakingly selected the perfect musicians to see it through. Perhaps the best choice was the use of a young Art Blakey. Blakey's ham fisted clank worked perfectly with the oddball nature of Monk's pieces. Various horn players were used to varying effects, and on at least one session in 1948 features a young Milt Jackson on vibes, some of this session was released as Jackson's own Wizard of the Vibes record later on. Their is a certain clumsy looseness and wet-behind-the-ears slop with the players involved that compliment these strange songs perfectly. The best of these sessions were released as 78 rpm singles, but later were compiled many times over and packaged anew with the recurring title, Genius of Modern Music. This edition works perfectly as a primer into one of the most original musical minds of the twentieth century and easily one of the greatest American composers to ever arrange mysterious black dots onto staff paper. You get perhaps the best version of "'Round Midnight" recorded ( and there have been over a thousand renditions,) as well as Monk staples like "Epistrophy," "Misterioso," and "Straight, No Chaser" as well as plenty more eccentric charmers. Longtime fans can move along, but for the uninitiated who may have been intimidated by the numerous releases bearing his name, this is a fantastic way to discover the genius that was Monk.