A definitive and early apotheosis of Monk as a solo artist, the first seven tracks of this 1957 LP include "April in Paris," "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," "'Round Midnight," and "I Should Care," capped by a trio version of the famed "Monk's Mood."
"'Functional' was probably never given a better reading than here, and his accompanying interpretations of standards are scarcely less compelling, melody and rhythm placed under new lights in each one."—Penguin Guide
"The originals include the stunning 'Functional,' nine minutes of blues that Monk himself found reminiscent of James P. Johnson and which is captured here in two superb versions; a darkly moody summoning of 'Round Midnight,' with Monk somehow encrypting his most famous tune; and … 'Monk's Mood' … as if a fraternity of geniuses has appeared to give closure to the ceremony…. The quintessential modernist."—All About Jazz
"Excellent. Highly recommended. 5 Stars."—Down Beat
"Monk is essentially a minimalist, a virtuoso of color, accent and space…. Where Tatum compulsively fills space, Monk (like Basie) establishes a masterful sense of implication, so that listeners finish phrases in their own minds. Like a great actor finding heretofore obscure layers of meaning in a familiar soliloquy, Monk takes familiar themes … and distills them down to a singing essence."—All Music Guide