Clark Terry, In Orbit (Riverside)
The coincidence of trumpeter Clark Terry and producer Orrin Keepnews passing within a few days of one another brings to mind a timeless album on Keepnews’s Riverside label. Terry’s 1958 In Orbit featured a special sideman. He asked for Thelonious Monk on piano. For a reissue of the album the producer wrote that, to his surprise, “…Monk agreed without hesitation, did not ask for a heavy fee (I believe he was paid no more than twice the union-scale maximum) and turned in the most relaxed, happiest and funkiest Monk performances I have ever witnessed. One reason may have been that Clark made no special fuss over him–and included only one Monk tune on the album.” The result remains an essential item in both Terry’s and Monk’s discographies, and a feather in Keepnews’s cap.