Thelonious Monk is among the best jazz musicians of time and one of first originators of modern jazz and bebop. For much of his livelihood, Monk played with little groups at Milton’s Playhouse. Musician. Thelonious Monk was created on October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
Monk started studying classical piano when he was eleven but had already revealed some aptitude for the instrument. “I learned the best way to read before I took lessons,” he later remembered. “You know, observing my sister practice her lessons over her shoulder.” By the time Monk was thirteen, he’d won the weekly amateur competition in the Apollo Theater a lot of times that the management prohibited him from reentering the contest.
At age seventeen, Monk dropped from the esteemed Stuyvesant High School to pursue his music career. He toured with the so called “Texas Warhorse,” an evangelist and faith healer, before collecting a quartet of his own. Even though it was typical to play to get a big band only at that time, Monk favored a more intimate work dynamic that will enable him to experiment with his sound.
Alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, he investigated the quick, jarring, and generally improvised designs that would later become synonymous with modern jazz. Thelonious Monk’s first known record was produced in 1944, when he was employed as a part of Coleman Hawkins’s quartet.
Monk formed a total of five Blue Note records between 1947 and 1952, including “Criss Cross” and “Signs.” All these are typically regarded as the initial works characteristic of Monk’s exceptional jazz style, which adopted percussive playing, uncommon repeats and dissonant sounds. Though prevalent acknowledgement was still years away, Monk had already earned the respect of his peers along with several significant critics.
In 1947, Monk married Nellie Smith, his longtime love. They later had two kids, whom they named after Monk’s parents, Thelonious and Barbara. The latter, which he recorded with Miles Davis in 1954, may also be thought to be his finest piano solo ever. Because Monk’s work continued to be mostly overlooked by jazz lovers at large, Prestige sold his contract to Riverside Records in 1955. There, he tried to make his initial two records more broadly accessible, yet this attempt was badly received by critics.
Not content to pander ineffectively into a nonexistent crowd, Monk turned a page with his 1956 record, Brilliant Corners, which will be generally thought to be his first true masterpiece. The record’s title track made a splash with its advanced, technically demanding, and incredibly sophisticated sound, which needed to be edited together from many different takes. In 1957, the Thelonious Monk Quartet, which included John Coltrane, started performing consistently in the Five Spot in Nyc. Have tremendous success, they went to tour the Usa as well as make some appearances in Europe.
The years that followed contained several international tours, but by the early 1970s, Monk was able to retire in the limelight; save for his 1971 records at Black Lion Records as well as the occasional appearance in the Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, Monk spent his closing years living quietly in seclusion. After fighting serious illness for quite some time, he passed away from a stroke in 1982. He’s since been inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame, added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry, and featured on a Usa postage stamp.
As a pioneering performer who managed to steal nearly invisibly through the jazz community throughout the initial half of his career, Monk is the sort of figure who asks gossip and exaggeration. The picture the people was left with is that of a demanding, bizarre recluse having an inborn gift for piano. The true man was more complicated. “Folks do not think of Thelonious as Mr. Mom,” his son points out, remembering his dad changing diapers, “but I plainly saw him do the Mr. Mom thing, big time.” Whatever Thelonious was to the media, it is clear what his legacy is going to be to jazz music: that of an actual originator. Monk likely said it best when he insisted that a “guru is one who’s most like himself.”