Well, I’ve said before that It’s Monk’s Time is my second favorite Monk studio album on Columbia Records. But that was only because I hadn’t yet heard Monk. yet. This is another good one from the otherwise somewhat underwhelming Columbia years. Charlie Rouse is really stupendous. There was a quality in Monk’s playing during this time period that tended toward the dry and lethargic, and when the energy in his playing started to flag Charlie Rouse seemed to come in to the rescue. That is an admirable thing. And it shows in the music. At least I hear it and welcome it. Oh, and “Children’s Song (That Old Man)” is a folk song whose melody was later used for the “I Love You” song by Barney the purple dinosaur — a target of much ire in the “cynical 90s.” Maybe Monk. falls a bit short of the man’s very best albums, but it is a dark horse for the top of the second tier.