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Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk (Piano)

Born: 10th October 1917, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, U.S.

Died: 17th February 1982, Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.

Nationality: American

Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer. He had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "'Round Midnight", "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser", "Ruby, My Dear", "In Walked Bud", and "Well, You Needn't". Monk is the second-most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington.

Monk's compositions and improvisations feature dissonances and angular melodic twists and are consistent with his unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of switched key releases, silences, and hesitations. His style was not universally appreciated; the poet and jazz critic Philip Larkin dismissed him as "the elephant on the keyboard".

Monk was renowned for a distinct look which included suits, hats, and sunglasses.

Further Reading: Thelonious Monk

 Recording of the Week, Thelonious Monk Quartet at Palo Alto

A unique window into a moment in time; the Thelonious Monk Quartet live a school hall in 1968, at a gig arranged by a 15-year-old, and recorded by the janitor! The results more than live up to the backstory.

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