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Unearthing Unknown Monk, Coltrane Recording

One day in late January, Larry Appelbaum was thumbing through some old Voice of America audiotapes about to be digitized at the Library of Congress when he made a discovery that would stun him and many other jazz fans.

Eight 10-inch reels of acetate tape were labeled "Carnegie Hall Jazz 1957." One of the tape boxes had a handwritten note on the back that said "T. Monk" with some song titles.

Appelbaum, a jazz specialist at the Library of Congress, got excited at the prospect of finding unpublished materials by the jazz master Thelonious Monk. Then he heard another distinctive sound. "I recognized the tenor saxophone of John Coltrane and my heart started to race," Appelbaum says.

The Nov. 29, 1957, concert was recorded by the Voice of America but never broadcast. For years, the recordings were lost and forgotten. Now, thanks to Appelbaum's discovery, Blue Note Records is releasing them.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.