Thelonious Monk

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Thelonious Monk “You know anybody can play a composition and use far-out chords and make it sound wrong. It’s making it sound right that’s not easy.” This quote spoke by Thelonious Monk himself represents his whole career into two sentences. He was widely considered one of the most influential jazz piano musicians. What is known about Monk’s early life is very little. Thelonious Sphere Monk was born October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Monk’s family was made up of his parents Thelonious and Barbara Monk and two siblings, Marian and Thomas. One of the first musical sounds Monk heard came from a player piano his parents owned. Then by the age of nine he began to pick up melodies on the piano and started teaching himself how to…show more content…
His last studio recordings we recordings were completed in November 1971. Later in his life, Monk was known for the unusual manner in which he acted. He was extremely quite said Bassists Al McKibbon who had known Monk for over twenty years. It is said that all of Monk’s quirky attributes are due to mental illness. Monk’s son reports that his father did not recognize his and was in fact hospitalized on several occasions due to unspecified mental illness. Monk would often become excited for two or three day, pace for days after that and then he would withdraw and stop speaking. No diagnoses were ever publicized but physicians recommended electroconvulsive therapy as treatment option for his illness. His family would not allow it so instead he took lithium and antipsychotic. As his health declined, Monk’s last six years were spent as a guest in the New Jersey home of his friend Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter. Monk died due to a stoke on February 17,1982 and was buried in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Since his death, his music has been rediscovered by a wider audience and he is now counted alongside the likes of Miles David and John Coltrane. In 1993, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2006 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. In the end, Thelonious Monk did what he loved and was passionate about and changed it for no one. He created his own original music with his owns rules and suffered
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