Thelonious Music

Thelonious Monk (1917 - 1982) was part of that small but select group of jazz musicians who were responsible for the birth of a new kind of jazz - bebop. In his teens he met Mary Lou Williams, a fine jazz pianist who became a lifelong friend and a major inspiration. By the early 1940's he was playing Harlem clubs like Minton's and Monroe's Uptown House with fellow innovators Kenny Clarke, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In the mid 40's he led groups under his own name, worked with Coleman Hawkins, and was with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra for a while; but he did not work regularly until the mid 50's when he finally became recognised for the contribution he had made to the new jazz and started recording some remarkable albums for Riverside. In 1962 he began recording for Columbia. During the 60's he led a quartet featuring Charlie Rouse on tenor, a group which recorded and toured extensively. He retired from touring and recording in the early seventies. His last recordings were made in Europe in November 1971 while on a 'Giants of Jazz' tour for George Wein. His piano playing and his compositions have an oddness about them, a strange angularity that is not always easily assimilated, but pays back dividends for those willing to listen.