Thelonious Monk

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  • Topic: Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bebop
  • Pages : 3 (979 words )
  • Download(s) : 278
  • Published : September 30, 2008
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Thelonious Monk
“You know anybody can play a composition and use far-out chords and make it sound wrong. It’s making it sound right that’s not easy.” This quote spoke by Thelonious Monk himself represents his whole career into two sentences. He was widely considered one of the most influential jazz piano musicians. What is known about Monk’s early life is very little. Thelonious Sphere Monk was born October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Monk’s family was made up of his parents Thelonious and Barbara Monk and two siblings, Marian and Thomas. One of the first musical sounds Monk heard came from a player piano his parents owned. Then by the age of nine he began to pick up melodies on the piano and started teaching himself how to read music by watching over his sister’s piano lessons. A year after moving to New York City from North Carolina Monk’s father became extremely ill, therefore leaving his mother to raise the three children by herself. Although the family’s budget was tight Monk’s mother was able to save up to buy a baby grand Steinway piano. By the age of eleven, Monk’s mother had saved enough money to pay for formal piano lessons for her son. At this young age it was clear that piano was Monk’s passion in life.

By his early teen’s, Monk was playing rent parties, playing organ and piano at a local Baptist Church, and was said to have won several amateur hours competitions at the Apollo Theater. He was admitted into one of the city’s best high schools, Peter Stuyvesant High School. By the end of his sophomore year, Monk dropped out of school to pursue his love of music. By 1935, Monk took a job as a pianist with a traveling evangelist preacher. Only two years later, he formed his own quartet and played locally. Having formed a quartet opened the way for more opportunities. Around 1941, Monk landed a job as the house pianist at the legendary Minton’s Manhattan Club. Being able to work at Minton’s brought Monk into close contact and...
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