And for now, I am Boo Boo, because it’s my birthday today!
No doubt many a counter-culturist picked up this record in 1968 simply upon the strength of its cover, which won the Grammy Award For Best Recording Package in 1969 (with the 1967 winner being The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’, and ‘Sgt. Pepper’ in 1968)
The 1968 album ‘Underground’ was the first Monk album in a decade to present new compositions by the artist. It is also the last album recorded with his classic quartet, featuring tenorist Charlie Rouse and the Ben Riley/Larry Gales rhythm section. Not long after this release, Monk stopped touring and recording altogether.
The lighthearted song ‘Boo Boo’s Birthday’ was named after his daughter Barbara, which nickname was Boo Boo. ‘Green Chimneys’, also on this album, was the name of the school she attended. ’Boo Boo’ has an unorthodox structure even among Monk’s tunes, being 21 bars in length and having an unusual harmonic structure. The theme’s like a parody and Charlie Rouse seems relieved when he can get out of the fixed figures and solo. Which he does with great success, because, like Coltrane said: ‘if you lost count playing with Monk, you walked into an open elevator shaft’.
Thelonious Monk - Piano Charlie Rouse - Tenor Saxophone Larry Gales - Bass Ben Riley - Drums