Celebrity Photo

Thelonious Monk

Highest Rated: 100% Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)

Lowest Rated: 100% Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)

Birthday: Oct 10, 1917

Birthplace: Rocky Mount, North Carolina, USA

A brilliant and often underappreciated pianist and composer during his lifetime, jazz musician Thelonious Monk blazed a brief but remarkable path during the late '40s and 1950s that saw him compose some of the most enduring songs of the genre, including "'Round Midnight," "Straight, No Chaser," "Well, You Needed" and "Crepuscule with Nellie." Born November 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, he moved with his family at the age of six to New York City, where he taught himself to play piano. He was performing professionally in his teenaged years, accompanying a traveling evangelist, before joining the house band at Minton's Playhouse in 1940. The club was a significant location in the creation of the bebop movement, and helped Monk to develop his unique style, which was marked by strong percussive playing and offbeat use of silence to create rhythmic space. Though some players dismissed his approach as amateurish, musicians like Lucky Millinder and Cootie Williams employed him as a sideman on tracks, including the earliest version of his standard, "Round Midnight," before Coleman Hawkins brought him into his quartet. He made his first studio recordings with the legendary saxophonist before making his debut as bandleader in 1947 for Blue Note, for whom he recorded sporadically until 1952 while also cutting sides for Prestige and other labels. Despite the regular work, he struggled financially, especially after losing his New York City Cabaret card when police arrested him and Bud Powell for narcotics possession in 1951. Sessions with Sonny Rollins and Max Roach, among others, and writing and arranging gigs kept him financially afloat, but his career did not hit its high water mark until he signed with Riverside Records in 1955. The label issued his first landmark album, Brilliant Corners, which developed a significant critical following for Monk. He expanded upon the positive press with a half-year stint at the Five Spot Café in New York, where he led a quartet featuring John Coltrane. When Coltrane left to rejoin Miles Davis' group in 1957, he formed a second quartet with Johnny Griffin and Roy Haynes that extended his growing fame; during this period, many of his most complex and memorable tracks were recorded, including "Crepuscule with Nellie" and "Rhythm-a-ning" (both 1957), which underscored his talent as a composer and arranger. The attention afforded by his Riverside recordings and stints at the Five Spot led to a contract with Columbia and a cover feature in Time, but Monk's tenure in the spotlight proved brief. His output for Columbia was limited and focused largely on live recordings, and he suffered from undiagnosed mental illnesses that required extensive hospitalization. Monk eventually withdrew from public life, recording sporadically for minor labels until essentially disappearing from view altogether; he spent the last six years of his life at the Englewood, New Jersey home of his friend and patron, Pannonica de Koenigswarter, before succumbing to a stroke on February 17, 1982. His career was subsequently feted on numerous occasions, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993 and a special Pulitzer Prize in 2006. His family also established the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which offered jazz education programs in public schools, in 1986

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Barry Harris - Spirit of Bebop Unknown (Character) - 2000
100% 81% Jazz on a Summer's Day Unknown (Character) - 1959

QUOTES FROM Thelonious Monk CHARACTERS

No quotes approved yet.