Jon McCaslin's Four on the Floor blog- like this little 2010 piece on the great, under-appreciated drummer Frankie Dunlop, who was with Thelonious Monk for part of the 1960's. I've studied him quite a bit myself, and always recommend him as one of the first people for novice jazz drummers to listen to. He plays busy but simply- you get to hear him make a lot of comping decisions, and it's easy to pick out what he's doing. And he also happens to be on a bunch of great records with tunes you want to learn!
Monk's Dream is really a classic beginner's record, though I don't know how many people use it that way. With the title track, Bye-Ya and Five Spot Blues it's got three hip, semi-common Monk compositions. Bolivar Blues doesn't get played much, but is a very classic, singable blues with a little 3/4 figure in the turnaround- right up there with Freddie Freeloader and Blue Monk for first blues, in my opinion. Based on Sweet Georgia Brown, Bright Mississippi is the friendliest possible introduction to the contrafact concept. Monk and Charlie Rouse make it easy on beginners, too- Rouse's solos are straightforward, melodic and swinging, and Monk tends to play the tune behind the solo.
Here's an easy transcription of the head and piano solo on Bolivar Blues, from Monk's Dream (only $6.99 on Amazon!):
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As usual, Blogger is balking at taking my uploaded images- I'll post that as soon as it deems to accept it. In the meantime:
Download the pdf