In October of 1968, 16-year-old student Danny Scher invited Thelonious Monk to play at his high school in Palo Alto, Calif.

Monk, who was then at the pinnacle of his musical career, accepted the invitation. Unbeknownst to him, the school’s custodian recorded it. That tape then sat in the attic of Scher’s family home for half a century until he got in touch with Monk’s son, T.S. Monk — the musician, composer, and founder of the Thelonious Monk Institute — to make plans to release it.

Titled Palo Alto, the recording was finally released by Impulse Records this year. T.S. Monk calls it “one of the best live recordings I’ve ever heard by Thelonious.” He recently joined us for an interview to tell us more about this incredible, newly unearthed recording.