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Thelonious Monk

With the arrival Thelonious Sphere Monk, modern music— let alone modern culture—simply hasn’t been the same. Recognized as one of the most inventive pianists of any musical genre, Monk achieved a startlingly original sound that even his most devoted followers have been unable to successfully imitate.

His musical vision was both ahead of its time and deeply rooted in tradition, spanning the entire history of the music from the “stride” masters of James P. Johnson and Willie “the Lion” Smith to the tonal freedom and kinetics of the “avant garde.” And he shares with Edward “Duke” Ellington the distinction of being one of the century’s greatest American composers. At the same time, his commitment to originality in all aspects of life—in fashion, in his creative use of language and economy of words, in his biting humor, even in the way he danced away from the piano—has led fans and detractors alike to call him “eccentric,” “mad” or even “taciturn.” Consequently, Monk has become perhaps the most talked about and least understood artist in the history of jazz.

Born on October 10, 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Thelonious was only four when his mother and his two siblings, Marion and Thomas, moved to New York City. Unlike other Southern migrants who headed straight to Harlem, the Monks settled on West 63rd Street in the “San Juan Hill” neighborhood of Manhattan, near the Hudson River. His father, Thelonious, Sr., joined the family three years later, but health considerations forced him to return to North Carolina. During his stay, however, he often played the harmonica, ‘Jew’s harp,” and piano—all of which probably influenced his son’s unyielding musical interests. Young Monk turned out to be a musical prodigy in addition to a good student and a fine athlete. He studied the trumpet briefly but began exploring the piano at age nine. He was about nine when Marion’s piano teacher took Thelonious on as a student. By his early teens, he was playing rent parties, sitting in on organ and piano at a local Baptist church, and was reputed to have won several “amateur hour” competitions at the Apollo Theater.

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Dennis Mitcheltree
saxophone, tenor
Max Perkoff
trombone
Chris Abelen
trombone
Omar Sosa
piano
Saskia Laroo
trumpet
Matthieu Marthouret
organ, Hammond B3
Jeff Lofton
trumpet
Ike Levin
saxophone, tenor
Dafna Naphtali
voice / vocals
Paul Abella
percussion
Matt Snyder
clarinet
Ron Davis
voice / vocals
Teri Roiger
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Dan Wilensky
saxophone
Matt Clark
guitar
Sue Orfield
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Bob Niederriter
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Richard Andersson
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The GroovaLottos
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Victor Monsivais
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Patrick O'Reilly
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Duo Laroo/Byrd
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Lars Winberg
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Ultrafaux
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Filippo Bianchini
saxophone, tenor
Space Whale Orchestra
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Jason Quick
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Steven Faivus
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Roberto Spadoni
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Tal Klein
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Happiefingerz
multi-instrumentalist
Ella Mar
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Illya Gomola
keyboards
Mary Amaral
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Sunhyun Yoo
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Matteo Mosolo
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Camila Ronza
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Johan Grim
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Dom Angelo Mongiovi
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Noam Shapira
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Erik Hempel
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Andres Hayes
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Very Cool People
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ML Caldwell
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Erkin Kydykbaev
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Ryan Marquez
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Jacob Chung
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Francis Jocky
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Benjy Sandler
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Photos

Albums

Palo Alto

Impulse! Records
2020

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Mønk

Gearbox Records
2018

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Mønk

Gearbox Records
2018

buy

Les Liaisons...

Sam Records
2017

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