Thelonious Monk

Legendary jazz giant Thelonious Monk was a dynamic pianist whose influence is monumental. Monk started playing the piano at age six and his family's move to Manhattan in 1930 enabled him with the opportunity to develop his music career. The vital New York jazz scene of the 1940's helped fuel his craft, and Monk is credited with driving bebop home during his stint as house pianist at the famous club, Minton's Playhouse. It was here that Monk became associated with the other leading jazz musicians of the day, and before too long he was cutting studio records and further developing his improvisational style. For the next several decades, Monk defied traditional conventions with his advanced compositional methods and eccentric, sometimes uncommunicative persona. Despite the challenges of diverging in the jazz world at the time, Monk established himself as a genius and superstar by 1957, landing premier gigs and collaborating with other big players like Dizzy Gillepsie, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. In 1964, he was on the cover of Time Magazine and on Columbia Record's label. The last decade of Monk's life found him reclusive and succumbing to mental illness. His death in 1982 left him with a legacy of permanence, transcendence and influence, and he remains one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time.

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