Thelonious Monk

Born 10 October 1917. Died 17 February 1982
Thelonious Monk
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/960x540/p01bqhvm.jpg
1917-10-10
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/8e8c7417-c905-46b1-b42a-5260b4274ed4
Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk Biography (BBC)

Famous as an eccentric, both for his unorthodox appearance, and the spiky individuality of his melodies, Thelonious Monk was one of the most dominant influences on the 1940s modern jazz, or bebop, revolution. He introduced numerous unusual harmonic ideas into jazz, and through his playing at Minton's club in New York, where he was the house pianist, he jammed with many of the architects of the new music - including drummer Kenny Clarke and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

Born in the South, he had grown up in New York, playing in Harlem, and then accompanying a travelling gospel singer, before becoming a regular part of the New York jazz scene as a sideman with numerous bands. He came to widespread attention as a member of Coleman Hawkins's band in 1944-5, briefly joined Dizzy Gillespie's big band in 1946 and the following year began his own recording career.

His first discs for Alfred Lion's Blue Note label were distinctive and original and announced the arrival of a new talent - but unfortunately they did not sell particularly well. But two producers who were equally visionary as Lion, Bob Weinstock at Prestige and Orrin Keepnews at Riverside records, continued to record Monk through the 1950s, capturing the flowering of his talent.

In due course he signed to Columbia records for the duration of the 1960s. In the 70s he made a few recordings, toured with an all star group including Gillespie called the Giants of Jazz, and gradually disappeared from public view, ending his life in seclusion. His piano style was jaunty, percussive and highly unusual, using almost no aspects of classical technique.

Nevertheless, it was highly effective, both visually and aurally, and has been an influence on many subsequent players. Equally, several of Monk's compositions have entered the mainstream of jazz, from ballads such as Round Midnight to his more unusual numbers Brilliant Corners, Epistrophy, Eronel, Evidence, Hackensack, Misterioso, Ruby My Dear, Straight No Chaser, and Thelonious.

For most of his last two decades as an active musician he led a quartet of saxophone, piano, bass and drums, and his music is preserved today by the group Sphere, with similar line-up and Kenny Barron taking the piano parts. Monk's son, T.S. Monk, is a well-known drummer who has been extremely active in establishing the Thelonious Monk Foundation in memory of his father.

Thelonious Monk Biography (Wikipedia)

Thelonious Sphere Monk (, October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) 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, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than a thousand pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70.

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. He was also noted for an idiosyncratic habit during performances: while other musicians continued playing, Monk stopped, stood up and danced for a few moments before returning to the piano.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Thelonious Monk Performances & Interviews


Thelonious Monk Tracks

Sort by

Thelonious Monk
Blue Monk
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Blue Monk
Coleman Hawkins
On The "Bean" (feat. Coleman Hawkins, Edward "Bass" Robinson, Thelonious Monk & Denzil Best)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqgtc.jpg
link
On The "Bean" (feat. Coleman Hawkins, Edward "Bass" Robinson, Thelonious Monk & Denzil Best)
Thelonious Monk
Hackensack
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Hackensack
Thelonious Monk
Straight, No Chaser
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Straight, No Chaser
Thelonious Monk
Nutty
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Nutty
Thelonious Monk
Let's Cool One
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Let's Cool One
Thelonious Monk
Epistrophy
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Epistrophy
Thelonious Monk
The Man I Love (Take 2)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
The Man I Love (Take 2)
Thelonious Monk
Off Minor
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Off Minor
Thelonious Monk
'Round Midnight
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
'Round Midnight
Thelonious Monk
Monk's Dream
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Monk's Dream
Thelonius Monk Quintet
Round Midnight
https://static.bbc.co.uk/music_clips/3.0.24/img/track_fallback.png
link
Round Midnight

Round Midnight

Performer
Thelonius Monk Quintet
Thelonious Monk
Jackie-ing
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Jackie-ing
Thelonious Monk
Stuffy Turkey
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Stuffy Turkey
Irving Mills
Moonlight Fiesta
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p04l86kj.jpg
link
Moonlight Fiesta

Moonlight Fiesta

Performer
Ensemble
Clark Terry Quartet
Last played on
Thelonious Monk
Ruby, My Dear
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Ruby, My Dear
Thelonious Monk
In Walked Bud
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
In Walked Bud
Thelonious Monk
Blue Bolivar Blues (Take 2)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Blue Bolivar Blues (Take 2)
Pepper Adams
Little Rootie Tootie
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01br6xg.jpg
link
Little Rootie Tootie
Thelonious Monk
In Walked Bud
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
In Walked Bud
Thelonious Monk
Green Chimneys
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Green Chimneys
Thelonious Monk
Boo Boo's Birthday
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Boo Boo's Birthday
Thelonious Monk
Raise Four
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Raise Four
Thelonious Monk
Ugly Beauty
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Ugly Beauty
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Thelonious
Thelonious Monk
Ruby My Dear
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Ruby My Dear
Thelonious Monk
Introspection (Take 3)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Introspection (Take 3)
Thelonious Monk
Trinkle Tinkle
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Trinkle Tinkle
Thelonious Monk
Five Spot Blues
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Five Spot Blues
Thelonious Monk
Crepuscule with Nellie
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Crepuscule with Nellie
Thelonious Monk
Nutty
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Nutty
Thelonious Monk
Evidence
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Evidence
Gerry Mulligan
I Mean You (Take 2)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqh01.jpg
link
I Mean You (Take 2)
Thelonious Monk
Ruby My Dear
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Ruby My Dear
Thelonious Monk
Bemsha Swing
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Bemsha Swing
Thelonious Monk
I Surrender, Dear
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
I Surrender, Dear
Thelonious Monk
Brilliant Corners
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Brilliant Corners
Thelonious Monk
Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are
Thelonious Monk
Honeysuckle Rose
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Honeysuckle Rose
Thelonious Monk
Misterioso
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Misterioso
John Coltrane
Monk's Mood
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqjxq.jpg
link
Monk's Mood
Thelonious Monk
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Thelonious Monk
Hackensack
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Hackensack
Thelonious Monk
Bye-Ya
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Bye-Ya
Thelonious Monk
Criss Cross
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Criss Cross
Thelonious Monk
Pannonica
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Pannonica
Thelonious Monk
Rhythm-a-ning
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqhvm.jpg
link
Rhythm-a-ning
Load more tracks
Playlists featuring Thelonious Monk

Back to artist