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The Rare "Shuffle Boil": A Critical Analysis of Covers

Ben Gray
Contributing Writer

Thelonious Monk is one of the most original pianists to have ever touched the keys. He was capable of making a song his own through his unique approach to the piano. His own compositions are probably the most-covered tunes in all of jazz, with dozens of “Straight, No Chaser” and “’Round Midnight” covers out there (not that there is a shortage of, say, “Bemsha Swing” or “Misterioso,” to name a few more). Still, it is a great surprise to find that the less commonly played Monk tunes are no less great than his most covered songs. “Shuffle-Boil” is a Monk tune that is not commonly covered (and was rarely played by Monk himself), but has given rise to some inspired versions since it first appeared in a session led by Gigi Gryce in 1955, released on the album Nica’s Tempo.