My earliest musical experiences are of vinyl spinning on the console stereo with magical piano emanating from the speakers. Thelonious Monk was required listening in my house when I was a child, and as I write this I am tempted to search my mother’s house for my father’s Monk records.
Thelonious Monk (October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) grew up in Manhattan, and was a primarily self-taught jazz pianist. Even though he was influenced by the musical styles of Fats Waller, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, his style was unique and unmistakable. His unique style, and legal issues that led to his being blocked from performing in New York City for a period of time, were hindrances to his career during the early ’50s. Then, the release of Brilliant Corners led to critical acclaim in 1956. In the 1960s he recorded with Miles Davis, further boosting his career.
Monk’s early composition ‘Round Midnight (1944) is the most-recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician.