Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Sphere Monk

1917 (Rocky Mount, N.C.) – 1982 (Englewood, N.J.)

Monk, with his angular dissonant lyricism, was one of jazz’s great idiosyncratic talents. He knew Johnson — an early influence — as a teenager. Hawkins gave him his first recording work. Gillespie and Parker were important colleagues. At Minton’s Playhouse (one of bebop’s nurseries), Clarke, Christian and Eldridge were among his fellow-players (Williams, who first met him aged eighteen, said he was never properly credited for his influence on his colleagues). Parker and Davis proved wary bosses. Smith taped and photographed Monk, who took the rap for his close friend Powell’s narcotics bust, and told the young Dylan “We all play folk music.”

Thelonious Monk knew…

  • Miles Davis
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Charlie Parker
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Coleman Hawkins
  • John Coltrane
  • Roy Eldridge
  • Charlie Christian
  • Bud Powell
  • Sonny Rollins
  • Art Blakey
  • Max Roach
  • Dave Brubeck
  • Johnny Hodges
  • Charles Mingus
  • Horace Silver
  • Bob Dylan
  • James P. Johnson
  • Kenny Clarke
  • Mary Lou Williams
  • Clark Terry
  • Lou Donaldson
  • Hot Lips Page
  • Pee Wee Russell
  • W. Eugene Smith