Thelonious Records is an independent record label established in 2001 to bring you the finest jazz recordings both old and new. The Idea for this label grew out of the frustration that developed within the Monk clan as they watched more and more Monk material get pirated in other countries with no regard for the artist or his rights. Thelonious Sphere Monk has never seen the financial benefit due an artist of his stature. Out of that frustration a resolve developed that has led to a modern day David and Goliath. Without precedent a suit was brought and won in France denting the armour of the pirates of bootleg misinformed Thelonious Sphere Monk performances. All of our offerings have never been officially released, and many were previously unknown. We are accumulating all of these bootleg concerts, but have a rich cache of pristinely recorded material as it stands. We have uncovered Monk material here in the U.S. that has only been heard by a handful of people, privately recorded, never released, never pirated. We are uncovering more material as time goes on. In 2001 we recovered the earliest recording of the Thelonious Monk Quartet featuring Charlie Rouse, Live at the Five Spot in 1958. This is material that has only been heard by the audience in attendance back in 1958 and those involved in its mastering today! We expect the crown jewel of our offerings will be the "Cat House" tapes. These are private recordings recorded by Nellie Monk, and the Baroness Pannonica DeKoenigswarter. Many were recorded at Monk's home and the home of the Baroness where many artists did their own recordings over the years. Many were recorded at the New York Jazz clubs. This collection represents the evolution of the talents of many of the jazz greats you know and love. Artists represented in this collection include Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Monk, Bird, Horace Silver, and the list goes on. There are over 250 hours of material that include the intimate conversations between the artists, as well as the earliest renditions of many of their best tunes.
The contemporary arm of our label begins with TS Monk. Among many accomplishments his most recent has been Down Beats "jazz album of the year" for "Monk on Monk". As Chairman of the board of Thelonious Records, TS is in the unique position of being aware of the business issues of jazz retailing and distribution, as well as the creative and production issues. Thelonious records is aware of the position jazz holds in the music world. Second class citizen. Despite the boost in jazz music sales recently (due in large part to Ken Burns Jazz) no long range plans seem to be in place to prolong those increased sales. Jazz labels appear to be content in continuing a passive attitude regarding sales. With TS's guidance Thelonious Records will take a more proactive approach to record sales and promotion. Because of our association with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and it's annual competition, we are in a position to compete for the worlds finest budding jazz musicians. We intend to cultivate the relationships with radio that are traditional in other genres but neglected by jazz for too many years. We plan to "service" radio in a fashion similar to other genres of music. An integral part of our artist development program will include collaboration with artists in other genres of music. Another part of our mission will be to increase the music video presence of jazz, which at this time is virtually non existent. We hope to put jazz back in the consciousness of the masses and make jazz a contemporary genre.