Thelonious Monk Analysis

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Thelonious Monk 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, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than a thousand pieces, whereas Monk wrote about seventy. Thelonious Sphere Monk was born on October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and was the son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk. Thelonious Monk and his family moved to New York City when he was four years old. He started playing piano when he was around five. In his early teens, Monk found his first job touring as an accompanist to an evangelist. While he toured with the evangelist he would…show more content…
Due to this many people thought that he was an inferior pianist. His compositions were so advanced that the lazier bebop players assumed that he was crazy. Thelonious Monk's name, appearance, and personality helped to brand him as some kind of nut. According to a biography written by Scott Yanow, Thelonious liked to “wear funny hats and was also a bit of an introvert.” Fortunately, Alfred Lion of Blue Note believed in him and recorded Monk extensively during 1947-1948 and 1951-1952. He also recorded for Prestige during 1952-1954, had a solo set for Vogue in 1954 during a visit to Paris, and appeared on a Verve date with Bird and Diz. However, work was very sporadic during this era and Monk had to struggle to make ends…show more content…
In 1955, he signed with Riverside and producer Orrin Keepnews persuaded him to record an album of Duke Ellington tunes and one of standards so his music would appear to be more accessible to the average jazz fan. In 1956 came the classic Brilliant Corners album, but it was the following year when the situation permanently changed. Monk was booked into the Five Spot for a long engagement and he used a quartet that featured tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. Finally, the critics and then the jazz public recognized Thelonious Monk's greatness during this important gig. The fact that he was unique was a disadvantage a few years earlier when all modern jazz pianists were expected to sound like Bud Powell, who was ironically a close friend. By 1957 the jazz public was looking for a new approach. Due to this, Monk was suddenly a celebrity and his status would not change for the remainder of his career. In 1958 his quartet featured the tenor of Johnny Griffin, in 1959 he appeared with an orchestra at Town
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