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In 1940, Minton's Playhouse on West 118th Street hired drummer Kenny Clarke as a bandleader. For the house band, Clarke hired trumpeter Joe Guy, bassist Nick Fenton, and an eccentric pianist named Thelonious Monk. Although Monk recorded with Coleman Hawkins in 1944, he didn't record with his own group until 1947. Despite these kind of gaps that occur throughout his discography, he is competitive with Duke Ellington for the most recorded composer in jazz. The Blue Note recordings of 1947-1952 include many of the most recognized of his compositions.
Host Intro 0:00
Thelonious Monk Sextet. "Thelonious" from Norton Jazz Recordings (Norton) 3:35
Host speaks 6:33
Thelonious Monk Trio. "Nice Work if You Can Get It (alternate)" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 2 (Blue Note) 8:14
Thelonious Monk Trio. "Ruby My Dear" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 11:14
Thelonious Monk Trio. "Well, You Needn't" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 14:20
Thelonious Monk Trio. "Off Minor" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 17:15
Host speaks 20:13
Thelonious Monk Trio. "April in Paris" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 21:14
Host speaks 24:31
Thelonious Monk Quintet. "In Walked Bud" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 26:21
Thelonious Monk Quintet. "Monk's Mood" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 2 (Blue Note) 29:15
Thelonious Monk Quintet. "Round Midnight" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 32:20
Host speaks 35:29
Thelonious Monk Quartet. "Evidence" from Milt Jackson and The Thelonious Monk Quintet (Blue Note) 36:11
Thelonious Monk Quartet. "Misterioso" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 38:43
Thelonious Monk Quartet. "Epistrophy" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 42:03
Thelonious Monk Quartet. "I Mean You" from Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 45:08
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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