Thelonious Monk

  • December 22, 2017

Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer, the second most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than a thousand pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70.

Monk’s contributions to the standard jazz repertoire included the compositions “‘Round Midnight,” “Blue Monk,” “Straight, No Chaser,” “Ruby, My Dear,” “In Walked Bud,” “Well, You Needn’t”, “Crepescule With Nellie”, and “Bolivar Blues”.

Monk’s unorthodox approach to the piano combined a highly percussive attack, with his fingers splayed, and an abrupt, dramatic use of switched key releases, silences, and hesitations.

He was also noted for an idiosyncratic habit observed at times during performances: while the other musicians in the band continued playing, he would stop, stand up from the keyboard, and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano.

This playlist features live recordings including tracks from the legendary performances at the Five Spot Cafe with John Coltrane; and several from other outings that featured Charlie Rouse on tenor.

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