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Previously unheard Thelonious Monk studio album-cum-soundtrack set for release

In the year of Monk’s centennial, Sam Records/Saga will issue his unreleased soundtrack to Roger Vadim’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960

The previously unavailable Thelonious Monk: Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960 gets its first-time release on this year’s Record Store Day. The mastertape containing his soundtrack to the Roger Vadim film Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960 was discovered a few years ago in a collection of studio sessions. It features solo, trio and quartet performances of classic Monk tunes, as well as Monk works composed for the film.

Recorded at Nola Penthouse Studios in New York City on 27 July 1959, the music features bandmates Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones and Art Taylor, plus French saxophonist Barney Wilen guesting with them.

"In December of 2014 I was visiting Paris and received a very charming introductory email out of the blue from the head of Sam Records, Mr Fred Thomas, explaining that he and his friend, Mr. Francois Le Xuan of Saga Jazz (producer of the acclaimed Jazz In Paris series), had located master tapes of a previously unissued studio session of Thelonious Monk made in 1959 by a French producer (the one and only Marcel Romano: Miles Davis’s Ascenseur Pour L'Échafaud),” recalls the record's producer Zev Feldman. “I was obviously extremely intrigued, and I believe my eyeballs literally left my face upon reading the news. Are you kidding me?! A STUDIO album?!! This was an extraordinary find and I wanted to know more[...]

“Over the next two years,” he continues, “we worked with the Thelonious Monk estate and set out to assemble the cast of voices/words (and photos) to bring together and tell the story of this amazing event in Thelonious Monk's recorded legacy.”

It will be released as a limited edition double LP deluxe box set by Sam Records/Saga on 22 April (Record Store Day), and in CD and download formats on 19 May. It will also include a 50 page booklet with original artwork by Jerome Witz and essays by Robin DG Kelley, Brian Priestley and Alain Tercinet, alongside unpublished photographs and other memorabilia from the original recording session.