- Monk, Thelonious
▪ American musicianin full Thelonious Sphere Monkborn Oct. 10, 1917, Rocky Mount, N.C., U.S.died Feb. 17, 1982, Englewood, N.J.American pianist and composer who was among the first creators of modern jazz.As the pianist in the band at Minton's Play House, a nightclub in New York City, in the early 1940s, Monk had great influence on the other musicians who later developed the bebop movement. For much of his career Monk performed and recorded with small groups. His playing was percussive and sparse, often being described as “angular,” and he used complex and dissonant harmonies and unusual intervals and rhythms. Monk's music was known for its humorous, almost playful, quality. He was also one of the most prolific composers in the history of jazz. Many of his compositions, which were generally written in the 12-bar blues or the 32-bar ballad form, became jazz standards. Among his best-known works are “Well, You Needn't,” “I Mean You,” “Straight, No Chaser,” “Criss-Cross,” “Mysterioso,” “Epistrophy,” “Blue Monk,” and “ ‘Round Midnight.” He influenced the flavour of much modern jazz, notably the work of George Russell, Randy Weston (Weston, Randy), and Cecil Taylor (Taylor, Cecil).
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