Rhythm-A-Ning Entertainment (RAN Ent), the music and film production arm of jazz great Thelonious Monk’s estate, of which Emerson Trustee Doug Holloway ’76 is president, is scheduled to release Palo Alto, the first of multiple planned joint releases with Impulse! Records, on July 31.
Palo Alto is the recording of a surprise 1968 concert by Monk and his steady touring band at a local high school in Palo Alto, California. The concert was organized by a then-student and jazz aficionado, Danny Scher, who organized the show as a way to help bridge the divide between Black and White residents in the area during a particularly tumultuous year.
Monk’s performance was recorded by the school janitor, and sat in Scher’s attic for years, until he contacted Monk’s son, T.S. Monk, chairman and founder of RAN Ent. They decided to release the recording on John Coltrane’s label, Impulse! Records – known as the “house that Trane built.”
“That performance is the one of the best live recordings I’ve ever heard by Thelonious,” T.S. Monk said. “I wasn’t even aware of my dad playing a high school gig, but he and the band were on it. When I first heard the tape, from the first measure, I knew my father was feeling really good.”
RAN and Impulse! plan to release multiple recordings together over the next five years, according to a press release.