'Round Midnight (song)

Last updated
"'Round Midnight"
Song by Thelonious Monk
Published1944
Genre Bebop
Composer(s) Thelonious Monk

"'Round Midnight" is a 1944 composition by pianist Thelonious Monk that quickly became a jazz standard and has been recorded by a wide variety of artists. A version recorded by Monk's quintet was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1993. [1] It is the most recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician. [2]

Contents

Composition and Monk's first recording

It is thought that Monk composed the song sometime in 1940 or 1941. However, Harry Colomby claims that Monk may have written an early version around 1936 (at the age of 19). The song was copyrighted September 24, 1943 in C minor under the title "I Need You So", and included lyrics by Monk himself. [3] The first recording was made by Cootie Williams on August 22, 1944, [4] after the pianist Bud Powell persuaded Williams to record the tune. [5] Monk first recorded the song on November 21, 1947, and later appeared on the Blue Note album Genius of Modern Music: Volume 1 , [6] and recorded it several times after that. His first version was transcribed by Lionel Grigson in A Thelonious Monk Study Album (Novello, 1993). [7]

'Round Midnight (song)

Jazz trumpeters Cootie Williams and Dizzy Gillespie further embellished the song, with songwriter Bernie Hanighen adding his own lyrics. The lyrics were copyrighted November 27, 1944 under the title "Grand Finale". [5] Both Williams and Hanighen received co-credits for their contributions. The commonly played intro to "'Round Midnight" was originally composed by Dizzy Gillespie for the end of his arrangement for "I Can't Get Started", but later adopted it to the intro for "'Round Midnight". [8] Gillespie later reused the arrangement for "I Can't Get Started", and recorded it for Birks' Works and Something Old, Something New .

Later versions

The song is sometimes incorrectly called "'Round About Midnight", as Miles Davis used this as the title of his 1957 Columbia Records album 'Round About Midnight that included a version based on Dizzy Gillespie's arrangement. It became a signature song for Davis; his performance of it with Monk at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival, which was heard by producer George Avakian, was crucial in securing him a recording contract with Columbia Records. [9] He had previously recorded the song in the studio two other times, once for Prestige in 1953 and again in 1956 as released on Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants .

A recording by Jimmy McGriff was used as the 6pm closedown theme in the early days of Radio Caroline in 1964.

In 1971, Ron Grainer used a down-tempo variation by Cootie Williams to accompany a memorable scene from The Omega Man . The song later appeared on a 2004 Gotan Project CD, Inspiración Espiración , featuring Chet Baker.

In 1986, the song was used as the title for the film Round Midnight which starred veteran saxophonist Dexter Gordon in a fictional story about an expatriate American jazz musician living in Paris. The soundtrack by Herbie Hancock prominently features the song "'Round Midnight" along with a number of other jazz standards and a handful of original pieces written by Hancock.

In 2002, Italian pianist Emanuele Arciuli commissioned a number of composers to create the Round Midnight Variations. [10] The composers included Roberto Andreoni, Milton Babbitt, Alberto Barbero, Carlo Boccadoro, William Bolcom, David Crumb, George Crumb, Michael Daugherty, Filippo Del Corno, John Harbison, Joel Hoffman, Aaron Jay Kernis, Gerald Levinson, Tobias Picker, Matthew Quayle, Frederic Rzewski, Augusta Read Thomas and Michael Torke. [11]

Notable recordings

By Monk

Recording dateAppears onDurationRelease dateSoloLiveNoteReference
1947/11/21 Genius of Modern Music 3:101951The same version was already released in 1947 as the B-side of the "Well You Needn't"-single; today the compilation Genius of Modern Music: Volume 1 is more established. [12] [13] [14]
1954/06/07The Prophet (EP)5:131963 Yes check.svg Yes check.svg France only release [15] [16]
1957/04/12 Thelonious Himself 6:441957 Yes check.svg The original CD reissue, released in 1987 via Original Jazz Classics/Riverside Records, includes an extensive 22-minute solo recording of "'Round Midnight" outtakes and experimentation in the studio. [17] [18] [19]
1957/08/13 Mulligan Meets Monk 8:291957 [20] [21] [22]
1958/07/09Thelonious in Action6:151989 Yes check.svg Bonus track on 1989-CD reissue [23] [24]
1960/04/29 Thelonious Monk at the Blackhawk 12:071960 Yes check.svg [25] [26]
1961/04/15The First European Concert '617:091991 Yes check.svg unofficial release [27] [28]
1961/05/16Thelonious Monk In Stockholm6:521987 Yes check.svg unofficial release [29] [30]
1963/02/09Spastic And Personal Yes check.svg unofficial release [31] [32]
1964/10/31 Live at the It Club 6:321982 Yes check.svg [33] [34] [35]
1964/11/03 Live at the Jazz Workshop 9:101982 Yes check.svg [36] [37]
1966/03/27Switzerland 19661991 Yes check.svg unofficial release [38] [39]
1968/11/19 Monk's Blues 3:491990with quartet and big band; originally released in 1968, but the track was first featured on the CD reissue in 1990 as a bonus track (recorded at the same session) [40] [41]
1968Straight No Chaser - Music From The Motion Picture (OST)2:141989 Yes check.svg [42] [43]
1970/10/04Thelonious Monk In Tokyo Yes check.svg [40]
1971/11/14 The Giants of Jazz 8:171972 Yes check.svg as "The Giants of Jazz" with Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Al McKibbon, Sonny Stitt and Kai Winding; other recordings of the group have been made while touring Europe in 1971 and released as bootlegs [44] [45] [46]
1972/06/15The Last Concerts6:542009 Yes check.svg [47] [48]
1972/09/16Live At The 1972 Monterey Jazz Festival5:152008/08/05 Yes check.svg as "Art Blakey and The Giants of Jazz" [49] [50]
1975/07/03The Last Concerts7:402009 Yes check.svg [47] [48]

By others

Recording YearInterpreterAppears onRelease YearNoteReference
1944 Cootie Williams Cootie Williams and His Orchestra 1941–1944 1995First known recording of the song [4] [51]
1946 Dizzy Gillespie Modern Jazz TrumpetsGillespie added an introduction and later that year a cadenza for big band arrangement, which "proved so popular that Monk added it (albeit an altered version) to his own performance... It is now a standard part of the song." [52] [53]
1950 Charlie Parker One Night In Birdland2000 [54] [55]
1953 Miles Davis Collectors' Items 1956 [56] [57]
1954 Bud Powell Jazz Original 1955 [58] [59]
1955Miles Davis Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 2015Monk on piano; this gig was considered a kind of comeback for Davis as it supposedly earned him the contract with Columbia Records, resulting in his 'Round About Midnight the following year [60] [61] [53]
1956Miles Davis 'Round About Midnight 1957 [62] [63]
1956Miles Davis Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants 1959Monk participated on the record but not on the track. [64] [65]
1956 June Christy The Misty Miss Christy 1956 [66]
1956 Kenny Dorham 'Round About Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia 1957 [67] [68]
1956 Art Farmer & Donald Byrd 2 Trumpets 1957 [69] [70]
1957 Jimmy Smith Jimmy Smith Trio + LD 1957 [71]
1957 Billy Taylor The New Billy Taylor Trio 1958 [72] [73]
1958 Michel Legrand Legrand Jazz1958 [74] [75]
1958 Mel Tormé Tormé 1958 [76]
1958 Gil Evans New Bottle Old Wine 1958 [77]
1959 Art Pepper Art Pepper + Eleven – Modern Jazz Classics 1960arranged by Marty Paich [78]
1959 Wes Montgomery The Wes Montgomery Trio 1959 [79]
1959 Sun Ra Sound Sun Pleasure!! 1970 [80]
1960 Julie London Around Midnight 1960 [81]
1960The Nashville All-Stars After the Riot at Newport 1961featuring Hank Garland, Chet Atkins, Boots Randolph, Floyd Cramer, Bob Moore, Buddy Harman, Gary Burton & Brenton Banks [82] [83]
1961 Ella Fitzgerald & Lou Levy Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! 1962 [84]
1961George Russell Ezz-thetics 1961 [85]
1961Miles Davis Directions 1980Compilation; the whole concert recording was released in 2003 as In Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk, Complete . [86] [87]
1961 Grant Green Green Street 1961 [88] [89]
1961 Art Farmer & Benny Golson The Jazztet at Birdhouse 1961 [90] [91]
1962 Milt Jackson Big Bags 1962 [92] [93]
1962 Barry Harris Chasin' the Bird 1962 [94] [95]
1962 Jimmy McGriff I've Got a Women1963 [96]
1962 Betty Carter 'Round Midnight '63 1963 [97]
1962 Sam Jones Down Home 1962 [98]
1963 Bill Evans Conversations with Myself 1963 [99]
1963Bill Evans Time Remembered 1983 [100] [101] [102]
1963Bill Evans At Shelly's Manne-Hole 1963 [103] [104]
1963 Sarah Vaughan Sarah Sings Soulfully 1963 [105]
1963Dizzy Gillespie Something Old, Something New 1963 [106]
1963 Freda Payne After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!! 1964 [107]
1963 Oscar Peterson & Nelson Riddle Oscar Peterson and Nelson Riddle 1963 [108]
1964Bill Evans The Bill Evans Trio "Live" 1971 [109]
1964 Sonny Rollins Now's the Time 1964 [110]
1964Ella Fitzgerald Ella in Japan: 'S Wonderful 2011 [111]
1965Bill Evans Trio '65 1965 [112]
1965George Russell George Russell Sextet at Beethoven Hall 1965 [113]
1965 Andy Bey 'Round Midnight1965 [114]
1966Wes Montgomery & Jimmy Smith Further Adventures of Jimmy and Wes 1966 [115]
1967Bill Evans California Here I Come 1982 [116] [117]
1969Miles Davis 1969 Miles – Festiva De Juan Pins 1993The whole concert recording was released in 2013 as Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 . [118] [119]
1969Bill Evans Autumn Leaves 1980 [120]
1969Bill Evans You're Gonna Hear from Me 1988 [121]
1969Betty Carter Round Midnight '75 1975 [122]
1970 Joe Henderson If You're Not Part of the Solution, You're Part of the Problem 1970 [123]
1971Joe Henderson Joe Henderson in Japan 1971 [124]
1972 Kenny Burrell 'Round Midnight 1972 [125]
1973 Joe Pass Virtuoso 1973 [126]
1976 Barry Harris Live in Tokyo 1976 [127]
1976 Dexter Gordon Homecoming: Live at the Village Vanguard1977 [128]
1977 Joe McPhee Variations on a Blue Line 1979 [129]
1978Art Pepper Among Friends 1978 [130]
1979Joe Pass & Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Northsea Nights 1979 [131]
1979Ella Fitzgerald A Perfect Match 1979 [132]
1980Sun Ra Arkestra Sunrise in Different Dimensions 1981 [133]
1981 Chick Corea Trio Music 1981 [134]
1981 Herbie Hancock Quartet 1982 [135]
1981 Freddie Hubbard Keystone Bop Vol. 2: Friday & Saturday 1996 [136]
1981 Mal Waldron & Steve Lacy Live at Dreher, Paris 1981 1996 [137]
1982 Abdullah Ibrahim African Dawn 1982 [138]
1984 Dorothy Ashby Django/Misty 1984 [139]
1984Various ArtistsThat's the Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonious Monk1984Interpretation by Joe Jackson [140]
1984 Michel Petrucciani Live at the Village Vanguard 1985 [141] [142]
1984 Stanley Jordan Magic Touch 1985 [143]
1984 Kronos Quartet Monk Suite 1984 [144]
1985Herbie Hancock Round Midnight 1986Soundtrack for Bertrand Tavernier's 1986 movie of the same name [145]
1985Dexter Gordon The Other Side of Round Midnight 1986Recorded during the shooting of for the 1986 film; produced and arranged by Hancock as well. [146]
1985 Ahmad Jamal Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival 1985 1986 [147]
1986 Linda Ronstadt For Sentimental Reasons 1986 [148]
1986 Helen Merrill Music Makers 1986 [149]
1988 Carmen McRae Carmen Sings Monk 1988 [150]
1988 Hue & Cry Bitter Suite 1989 [151]
1989 Charlie Rouse Epistrophy1989 [152]
1989 Charlie Haden The Montreal Tapes: Tribute to Joe Henderson 2004 [153]
1989Chick Corea Alive 1991 [154]
1990 Art Ensemble of Chicago & Cecil Taylor Thelonious Sphere Monk: Dreaming of the Masters Series Vol. 2 1992 [155]
1990Chick Corea & Bobby McFerrin Play 1990 [156]
1991 Big Sugar Big Sugar 1991 [157]
1991 Cassandra Wilson Live 1991 [158]
1991 Ran Blake Epistrophy 1991 [159]
1991 Emil Viklický 'Round Midnight1991 [160]
1991Cassandra Wilson After the Beginning Again 1997 [161]
1992 GRP All-Star Big Band GRP All-Star Big Band 1992 [162]
1993 Elkie Brooks Round Midnight 1996 [163]
1996 Lee Konitz Alone Together1997with Brad Mehldau & Charlie Haden [164]
1996Kurt RosenwinkelEast Coast Love Affair1996 [165]
1996Elkie Brooks Amazing 1996 [166]
1997 Ronnie Earl The Colour of Love1997 [167]
1997 Bill Holman Brilliant Corners: The Music of Thelonious Monk1997 [168]
1998 Steve Rochinski A Bird In The Hand1999this version was arranged by Tal Farlow specifically for Steve Rochinski [169]
1998 Andy Summers Green Chimneys1999 [170]
1999 Keith Jarrett Whisper Not 2000with his "Standards Trio" [171]
2000 Jessica Williams The Real Deal2004 [172]
2001 Billy Cobham The Art of Three 2001 [173]
2002 Ledisi Feeling Orange but Sometimes Blue 2002 [174]
2003 Alexander von Schlippenbach Monk's Casino 2005 [175] [176]
2004 Amy Winehouse Take the Box 2004 [177]
2004 Gotan Project Inspiración Espiración 2004 [178]
2004 Chaka Khan ClassiKhan 2004 [179]
2007Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden Last Dance 2014 [180]
2011Joanna MacGregorJoanna MacGregor Plays Gershwin & The American Songbook2011Transcription of Thelonious Monk's 1954 solo recording. [181]
2012 Sylvia Brooks Restless2012 [182]
2013 Earl Klugh HandPicked 2013 [183]
2017 Miho Hazama The Monk: Live at Bimhuis 2018with Metropole Orkest [184]

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