Thelonious Monk, 40 years after his death

Originally published at: Thelonious Monk, 40 years after his death | Boing Boing


That’s Charlie Rouse on the sax…


Monk - you either get it or you don’t. I find him fascinating, and I wish I’d been alive when he was.


I recently read Charlotte Carter’s fine novel Rhode Island Red, which features chapter titles like Blue Monk, Epistrophy, 'round Midnight etc. The whole thing was imbued with Monk-ness (and Parker-ity too). Recommended for fans of bebop and unusual mystery novels by smart women.

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Yeah, man… he is one of the greatest. And this is one of my favorite album covers of all time.


Hm, that YT video you linked, @pesco - it only has the right channel. That’s a kind of mono I feel a bit uncomfortable with. I thought for a moment that my headphones were broken.

Would this be an alternative?

ETA: @Papasan. just realized you posted this already.

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The Monk doc STRAIGHT NO CHASER is rentable at Amazon, and also available for free if you know how to search YT and don’t mind Italian subtitles.

My favorite Monk records are probably the grey-area French (broadcast?) recordings done by the Esoldun label. I picked up a couple years ago when they were cheap, and that’s when I realized he let his musicians solo on nearly every tune-- so every song has bass and drum solos as well as sax and piano, something that was edited out of the US live recordings (until the deluxe cd reissues decades later.)

You could say the same thing about jazz overall then… i mean, anyone who doesn’t “get” In Walked Bud, I’d wonder if they like any jazz. It’s totally accessible, even catchy (at least the head certainly is)

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I can’t say I agree with those recommendations too much - they’re more for the completist or historian than the general listener. That includes the Kelley biography, which is full of minutia and highly-questionable speculation about Monk’s mental health, and is very long.

Personally I’d say the best point of entrance to the Monk canon is Brilliant Corners, with Sonny Rollins doing some of his greatest work on sax. To the non-specialist, I think it’s the clearest and most accessible statement of his completely unique sensibility.

I drink to his memory

I wrote a poem about hopping about broadway and the monk
but now the feelings gone

Appropriately, Monk’s death prompted Hal Willner to create the first of his weird tribute albums and to assemble a motley crew. The double LP called “That’s the Way I Feel Now” featured a wide array of artists, not all of them jazz artists by any means. (The CD edition contains a smaller selection of tunes.) The title was a rejected title for “Monk’s Mood”.

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