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. Monk played stride piano in the style of Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, and Eubie Blake. His music was influential in the development of bebop.
About Thelonious Monk in brief
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. Monk is the second-most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington. 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 would stop, stand up, and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano. He is one of five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of Time magazine. Monk made his first recordings with the Coleman Hawkins Quartet in 1944. Shortly after meeting Gordon Gordon, Monk preached his genius to the jazz world with unrelenting passion. Monk was the first member of the Blue Note Quartet to make recordings for Blue Note Records. He died of a heart attack in 1982, at the age of 75. He left behind a wife and four children. He also had a son, Thomas, who died of lung cancer in 1994. He recorded with the group in the early 1960s, and later recorded with John Coltrane in the late 1960s. Monk died in a car accident in 1998, in which he suffered a head injury that required multiple operations to save his life.
His wife, Lorraine, died in 2002, at age 89, after a long battle with lung cancer. She died from a stroke in 2007, and he died in 2009, aged 89. Monk recorded with Coleman Hawkins in the mid-1960s, before his death in 2010, and in 2012, he recorded with Thelonious Monk with the New York City Quartet. Monk’s first recordings were with Blue Note, the first of which was made in 1944, and the first to be released on Blue Note’s Blue Note label. Monk also recorded with Lionel Hampton, who would go on to become one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. Monk played stride piano in the style of Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, and Eubie Blake. His music was influential in the development of bebop, which would be furthered by other artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Parker, and, later, Miles Davis. Monk had a long-running radio show on W.A.S.P.C. radio in the 1940s and 1950s, which he hosted with his wife Lorraine Gordon and her first husband, Alfred Lion Lion, the founder of Lion Lion Records. In the early to mid-1940s, he was the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse, a Manhattan nightclub. He participated in after-hours cutting contests, which featured many leading jazz soloists of the time. Monk lived in the same neighborhood in New York city as Johnson and knew him as a teenager.