I discovered Thelonius Monk years ago through a book my Mom encouraged me to read. Very happy she urged me to read that book because it was within its pages where I discovered my love for jazz. I’ve mentioned Thelonius Monk in a previous blog stating, “Monk is one of my personal favorite jazz greats, not only for his music but for his idiosyncratic manner and style.” (National Photography Day)
Today, 10/10, is Monk’s birthday. Monk, who would be 100 years old today, is remembered as much for his contributions to jazz as he is for his eccentricities. He threw down on the keys in his own passionate way. Each time he sat at the piano, he delivered masterpieces in his signature improvisational style and unique manner. Monk introduced the world to the bebop style and it is widely accepted that he was the originator of bebop.
His personal life is equally as fascinating as the way he strung together his notes. From his love affair with Nica de Koenigswarter the Rothschild heiress, to his medical misdiagnoses with prescription drugs. These misdiagnoses arguably, could have led to his famously “odd” behavior. From his humble roots in North Carolina to his rise to notoriety in jazz clubs of New York City, Monk remained Monk. His contributions to jazz will live on forever. Monk, a father of modern jazz gave it an identity that cannot be separated from him. Monk is modern jazz and modern jazz is the creative genius that is, Thelonius Monk.