Academic journal article Notes

Thelonious Monk. Criss-Cross

Academic journal article Notes

Thelonious Monk. Criss-Cross

Article excerpt

Thelonious Monk. Criss-Cross. Columbia CK 63537, 2003.

Thelonious Monk. It's Monk's Time. Columbia CK 63532, 2003.

Thelonious Monk. Underground. Columbia CK 63535, 2003.

By the beginning of the 1960s, jazz critics had almost unanimously come to the belated realization that pianist and composer Thelonious Monk was a genius, if quite obviously an idiosyncratic one. Monk's public and onstage behavior was often strange--he was known, for instance, for getting up and dancing awkwardly around the bandstand during his sidemen's solos--and his taciturn nature and tendency to speak in mumbled epigrams when he did talk at all contributed to the general perception of him as a curious figure. It was his music, though, that really made people scratch their heads. His playing style was simultaneously adventurous and backwardlooking, combining a tendency towards strange note choices with a deep affinity for the stride traditions of pre-jazz pianists. His compositions were angular, unpredictable, and sometimes difficult to the point that sidemen and audiences alike were left bewildered. But some of those compositions eventually penetrated the jazz repertoire to the point that they have now become standards, and Monk himself is now almost universally hailed as an innovative master rather than a curious aberration. …

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