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#1300291 - 11/06/09 01:55 AM Thelonious Monk  
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Manachi Offline
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Hey Guys,

I'm relatively new to Jazz but have been listening and practising many hours a day for the last few months. Recently discovered Thelonious Monk on youtube and have bought "Complete Blue Note Recordings" - I really dig his style and his sound - the first time I listened I didn't know what to think of it, but its grown on me a lot.

I notice his name doesnt seem to appear nearly as often as other 'greats' when people list names on the forum etc. Just curious to know what others think of him? smile

Manachi

PS. I'm open to any recommendations of any specific tracks of his that I should check out! smile


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#1301910 - 11/09/09 02:46 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: Manachi]  
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You should definitely check out his album, "Solo Monk"

He's quite an eccentric pianist (both as a musician and as a person). He's able to use dissonance to create some very beautiful music. One thing he used a lot are voicings with minor 2nds, along with his very angular lines and... interesting rhythm.

#1301912 - 11/09/09 02:56 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: Othello]  
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Yea Monk is amazing... everything from his feel, touch.. I love "brilliant corners", Pannonica is one my favorite Monk Tune.

#1302010 - 11/09/09 10:42 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: etcetra]  
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let's don't be over excited over Monk, he is original in some sense but far from great. Thousands of better players out there.

Take a listen to this tragic, stiff performance for instance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmhP1RgbrrY

I couldn't even listen to the end...
If I didn't see title I'd think it's amateur school band.

#1302020 - 11/09/09 10:54 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: tremens, delirium]  
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Once again delirium you miss the point. He created a particular sound. Like it or not, it's his.


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#1302022 - 11/09/09 10:57 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee
Once again delirium you miss the point. He created a particular sound. Like it or not, it's his.


that way you can call music any noise.

#1302055 - 11/09/09 11:40 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: tremens, delirium]  
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So a major 2nd interval is just noise? That's all he's doing my friend. Ever heard of the 9th in a chord? (Something that's in every single Jazz voicing today?).

Read up on the history Del. It was Dizzy, Bird and Monk staying up in the wee hours of the morning discussing harmony. (The book is an Autobiography of Dizzy Gillespie). From these guys came Modern Jazz and Bebop.


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#1302072 - 11/09/09 11:56 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: jazzwee]  
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I thought it was a minor second he was playing. Like a b9, but adjacent to the root.


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#1302075 - 11/09/09 12:06 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: tremens, delirium]  
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Originally Posted by tremens, delirium
let's don't be over excited over Monk, he is original in some sense but far from great. Thousands of better players out there.


That's the stupidest assertion I have read on Piano World, and there have been some doozies. Delirium, indeed.

Or maybe it's tongue in cheek, like the German guy in a wig on You Tube who "fixes" the difficulties that Monk didn't have the time to work out himself.

#1302078 - 11/09/09 12:08 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: Studio Joe]  
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I didn't actually try to analyze what he played there but I play this tune a lot and it's often characterized by adjacent diatonic notes (which could sometimes be half step). A b9 on the dominant would also be consistent with him.


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#1302082 - 11/09/09 12:12 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: landorrano]  
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Or maybe it's tongue in cheek, like the German guy in a wig on You Tube who "fixes" the difficulties that Monk didn't have the time to work out himself.


smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51bsCRv6kI0



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#1302090 - 11/09/09 12:24 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: jazzwee]  
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I see I'm in kindergarten here.

#1302162 - 11/09/09 02:05 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: jazzwee]  
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Originally Posted by jazzwee
Originally Posted by landorrano
Or maybe it's tongue in cheek, like the German guy in a wig on You Tube who "fixes" the difficulties that Monk didn't have the time to work out himself.


smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51bsCRv6kI0



ha ha

I actually like Monk.

Cathy


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#1302214 - 11/09/09 03:48 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: jazzwee]  
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tremens, delirium QUOTE let's don't be over excited over Monk, he is original in some sense but far from great. Thousands of better players out there.

From Wikipedia 1.Often regarded as a founder of bebop.
2.He is one of only five jazz musicians to be featured on the cover of Time (the other four being Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, and Dave Brubeck.
Monk's style at this time was later described as "hard-swinging," with the addition of runs in the style of Art Tatum. Monk's stated influences include Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and other early stride pianists. Monk's unique piano style was largely perfected during his stint as the house pianist at Minton's in the early-to-mid 1940s, when he participated in the famous after-hours "cutting competitions" that featured most of the leading jazz soloists of the day. The Minton's scene was crucial in the formulation of the bebop genre and it brought Monk into close contact and collaboration with other leading exponents of bebop, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Parker and later, Miles Davis.

Mary Lou Williams, among others, has spoken of Monk's rich inventiveness in this period, and how such invention was vital for musicians since at the time it was common for fellow musicians to incorporate overheard musical ideas into their own works without giving due credit. "So, the boppers worked out a music that was hard to steal. I'll say this for the `leeches', though: they tried. I've seen them in Minton's busily writing on their shirt cuffs or scribbling on the tablecloth. And even our own guys, I'm afraid, did not give Monk the credit he had coming. Why, they even stole his idea of the beret and bop glasses
Monk was highly regarded by his peers and by some critics, but his records did not sell in significant numbers, and his music was still regarded as too "difficult" for mass-market acceptance
Today Thelonious Monk is widely accepted as a genuine master of American music. His compositions constitute the core of jazz repertory and are performed by artists from many different genres. He is the subject of award winning documentaries, biographies and scholarly studies, prime time television tributes, and he even has an Institute created in his name. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz was created to promote jazz education and to train and encourage new generations of musicians. It is a fitting tribute to an artist who was always willing to share his musical knowledge with others but expected originality in return.
Robin D. G. Kelley Ph.D.

tremens, delirium I hope your piano playing sounds better your talk and what you write is boring. DPVJAZZ

#1302225 - 11/09/09 04:03 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: dpvjazz]  
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so you guys have to read in wiki and have a phd to tell you what is good for your ears? pathetic...
For me listening to somebody is enough and while Monk's solo was interesting the whole performance I didn't like at all.

Anyway, listen to whatever makes you happy but don't cheat your ears they know better then you.

#1302273 - 11/09/09 05:29 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: tremens, delirium]  
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Originally Posted by tremens, delirium
that way you can call music any noise.


Originally Posted by tremens, delirium
so you guys have to read in wiki and have a phd to tell you what is good for your ears? pathetic...
For me listening to somebody is enough.


You're certainly in good company. A couple of hundred years ago, the conductor and virtuoso violinist, Louis Spohr, heard Beethoven's 5th Symphony and described it as, "an orgy of vulgar noise."

#1302704 - 11/10/09 12:34 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: daro]  
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What I admire most about T Monk is his compositions that many jazz musicians have recorded and turned them into standards. Monk was a great songwriter.

He had a piano style that worked for him, a bit choppy at times and inconsistent in his touch, but that was what defined his eccentric and almost elfin personality.

Some of my favorite tunes he wrote were, Round Midnight, Monks Mood, Pannonica and Ruby My Dear. Hopefully he got the royalties he was entitled to when he was around.

I saw his CD set on Amazon, Monk Alone: The Complete Solo Studio Recordings of Thelonious Monk 1962-1968 by Thelonious Monk (Audio CD - 1998) - Original recording remastered. Must order it soon.

katt

#1302760 - 11/10/09 02:01 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: nitekatt2008z]  
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You know there is no one like him, he is one of a kind.. you hear people copying Bill Evans, or Oscar Peterson, but not Monk. If there is such thing as a voice on an instrument, then he truly has one.

Kenny Werner once said "do you think Theolonius Monk himself will actually be able make the audition Monk Institute?

You love his music for what it is.. And for me I can appreciate him a lot better when I can drop my expectations for what jazz piano is supposed to sound like.

dvpjazz&daro

I don't know firsthand, bur rumor has it that tremens did post his own music in a jazz forum and people were laughing at him because his music was so...you know what.

I figured, it's like some sports fan who talk all this crap about their team and atheletes..it's easy to criticize people when you aren't the one pouring your heart out on the stage/stadium..

But who knows may be we are all wrong and he is right, and he is actually that brilliant, in that case, I do wonder why the whole world doesn't know about his music.

Maybe he can enlighten us as to how ignorant we are with his brilliant playing smile

#1302851 - 11/10/09 04:39 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: etcetra]  
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Originally Posted by etcetra


I don't know firsthand, bur rumor has it that tremens did post his own music in a jazz forum and people were laughing at him because his music was so...you know what.


It isn't really important, but I don't think that Tremens' playing has any importance at all.

One doesn't have to be a great musician to have an idea about things.

Also, it isn't rare that very good musicians, great ones even, disdain other great musicians. Armstrong denounced bebop and ridiculed Parker and Gillespie for their berets and sunglasses.

That said, I do find what tremens,delirium says in this thread about Thelonious Monk to be idiotic. I suspect that it is tongue-in-cheek, or said by spirit of provocation, but it is nonetheless idiotic.

Last edited by landorrano; 11/10/09 04:41 PM.
#1302855 - 11/10/09 05:03 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: landorrano]  
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As for Thelonious Monk, he was an immense artist, a musician of gigantic stature, and has had an influence so profound and widespread that it is difficult to measure it. It goes beyond imitating his style, copying his licks, transcribing his solos. It goes beyond his compositions, even.

Coltrane worked in Monk's band, during the period leading up to Giant Steps and My Favorite Things. Think of what that represents. Monk is a key element in the development and the flowering of the genius of Coltrane.

The importance of Monk is beyond measure.

#1302857 - 11/10/09 05:06 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: landorrano]  
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Speaking of Thelonious Monk, there's a film which includes a kind of jazz-rap that has the line:

"Thelonious Monk, a melodious thunk".


The first one to name this film and state who it is that pronounces this rap wins a year's supply.

Last edited by landorrano; 11/10/09 05:06 PM.
#1302872 - 11/10/09 05:34 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: etcetra]  
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Originally Posted by etcetra
You know there is no one like him, he is one of a kind.. you hear people copying Bill Evans, or Oscar Peterson, but not Monk. If there is such thing as a voice on an instrument, then he truly has one.

Kenny Werner once said "do you think Theolonius Monk himself will actually be able make the audition Monk Institute?

You love his music for what it is.. And for me I can appreciate him a lot better when I can drop my expectations for what jazz piano is supposed to sound like.

dvpjazz&daro

I don't know firsthand, bur rumor has it that tremens did post his own music in a jazz forum and people were laughing at him because his music was so...you know what.

I figured, it's like some sports fan who talk all this crap about their team and atheletes..it's easy to criticize people when you aren't the one pouring your heart out on the stage/stadium..

But who knows may be we are all wrong and he is right, and he is actually that brilliant, in that case, I do wonder why the whole world doesn't know about his music.

Maybe he can enlighten us as to how ignorant we are with his brilliant playing smile


That's right etc, they broke the mold when they "designed" T Monk. He had one of the most original piano styles that would be nearly impossible to duplicate. It might be easier transcribing Keith J, Bill E or Oscar Peterson, which other pianists have already done. The interesting thing about Monk that I read and there are several books about his journey in the jazz world in his period, was on live gigs, when he was on, HE WAS ON, but when he wasn't, he would appear a little distracted, not focused.

That's too bad that tremens posted his music on youtube and people made fun of his music? Is that right? I hope it didn't do a number on him and made him detour from his goals as a musician. If that's so trem, forget what those "critics" say and keep moving forward.

katt

Last edited by nitekatt2008z; 11/10/09 05:35 PM.
#1302894 - 11/10/09 06:13 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: nitekatt2008z]  
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My opinion is that with Monk, they didn't break the mold, they made the mold. Monk is the mold. He is one of the molds that shaped jazz to come.

One oughtn't confound his psychological instability with his artictic genious, which was solidly founded.

It isn't a question simply of his playing style, his improvisation and accompanying styles. In anycase, his style is not unrelated to other players in jazz. Just have a listen to Ellington.

Also there is a great deal of direct influence of Monk's playing in many players that follow.

But I don't think that that is the most important.

There is a way to look at Monk as a genious, who taught himself to play, who wrote some lovely songs that have become standards, danced around on stage, and who then disappeared without leaving a trace. No disciples, no imitators, no Sonny Stitt for Monk. Plus, a bit of condescension for his crazyness.

But as I said, it appears difficult to identify the importance of Monk only because it is so great.


#1303084 - 11/11/09 05:14 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: landorrano]  
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Speaking of imitating Monk: Bud Powell had an album titled Portrait Of Thelonious Monk. It is uncanny how Bud sounds like Monk on it.

And regarding Monk's pianistic style: I believe there is an anecdotal account in a biography about how Monk showed his imitation of Bud's style to a guy, and despite his amazement Monk asked him to never speak about it. If you read the biography, please remind me what the title is.

I really do believe that Monk played the way he did because he chose to, not for the lack of technique. His earlier records show a much less disjunctive style. In fact, he plays a very great stride style left hand when he wanted to. Check out his "Solo Monk" and "Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington." Therefore I believe that his deficient technique is largely misunderstand and exaggerated.

#1303112 - 11/11/09 08:25 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: Othello]  
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watch this towards the very end where Billy Taylor talks about Monk playing like Tatum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DHAC2aGt1Q


#1303242 - 11/11/09 12:38 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: knotty]  
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Here is a link to one of my favorite monk tunes Pannonica, Chick Corea's version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wt76nm8Tlg

All the famous jazz musicians and not so famous have played Monk's tunes. He was really a prolific songwriter, one of the greatest ever. Of course he could play too. With the exception of Bill Evans or Chick Corea as composers, Monk probably wrote a lot more "hits" that have become standards in the Real Books.

Just last night I started transcribing a few bars of Pannonica ala Chick Corea. Still haven't seen some of the DVD's of Monk, but plan too soon

katt

#1303923 - 11/12/09 10:56 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: knotty]  
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Knotty, thanks for that link. I think I had read an account of that before but never heard/seen it and that was tremendous! Interesting that Monk was compared to Art Tatum, something so unlike his "sound". This ability to play was alluded to by Mary Lou Williams in her session on PianoJazz as well. I believe that Mary Lou was very perturbed by people indicating that Monk couldn't really play. She said she had heard him play "...lots of piano" i.e. more like say Art Tatum, but that Monk WANTED to sound like that - it was his statement!

'buff


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#1303987 - 11/12/09 12:09 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: h2obuff]  
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Somewhere on the BBC site, I listened to an interview with Dave Brubeck where he talked about he and Iola went to have dinner with the Monks, and not a word was said. Later Dave met Nellie, who told him how Thelonius always talked about how much he enjoyed that dinner.

T. S., at a discussion before a show, talked about how his father reacted when he said he wanted to learn the drums. Thelonius had never said anything about learning music to him before, but his first words were, "What took you so long!" Then he called up one of his contacts to get a set of drums, and another for lessons (both famous names, but I forget who they were). That was it, it was not discussed again until Thelonius said it was time for T. S. to sit in with him.


Semipro Tech
#1303992 - 11/12/09 12:14 PM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: landorrano]  
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Eventualy Miles and Coltrane both didn't want to play with Monk anymore. Miles said he couldn't play with those weird chords behind his trumpet solos. Miles got Red Garland, then Wynton Kelly, and Coltrane went on to McCoy Tyner.

I like Monk's streamlined solo piano recordings. They are rather simple and traditional except for some of his dissonance and odd fills. They are great examples of minimilism.


#1304460 - 11/13/09 12:01 AM Re: Thelonious Monk [Re: Jazz+]  
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Wow - some incredible posts - thanks for all the info/opinions/suggestions guys smile Really interesting to hear peoples opinions of Monk (except tremens, delirium who seems to just be trolling IMO).

I try to contain my excitement when I find new things in Jazz, because I'm still new to it, and what's interesting to me is probably old news to most of you guys. But I have to say that something about Monk's style & sound REALLY draws me to it - I love the quirkyness, and the sort of jagged/dissonance - its awesome. I find his technique really interesting to watch (on youtube). I'd love to be able to play in that style. I bought the "Complete Blue Note Recordings" and so far my favourite tunes are "Straight, No Chaser", "Four in One", "I Mean You", "Well you needn't", "Blue Monk" just to name a few.

I also think that his character... his edginess, and eccentric stage precense is really intriging, even by todays standards. I think he was ahead of his time!

Thanks again guys smile

PS. I'd seen that Hans Groiner youtube video before - absolutely gold - cracked me up!


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