- Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk
- Thelonious Monk in Action
- Mulligan Meets Monk
- Alone in San Francisco
- Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane
- Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Brilliant and Crazy: Thelonious Monk
If you have seen A Beautiful Mind, Russel Crowe as the brilliant and nuts logician John Nash, you have a sense of the connection between mental impairment and genius. Another case in point is one Thelonious Sphere Monk. I have loved Monk for a long time now. Today I read David Yaffee's review of "Robin D.G. Kelley's exhaustive, necessary and, as of now, definitive Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original" at The Nation. I can't wait to read the book, but the review is a fine presentation of the man.
If you are interested in digging into some Monk recordings, I have some suggestions. Monk's best single album, imho, is Brilliant Corners. Even the title is pure Monk. Here are some more:
Discs 1-3 feature Johnny Griffin on sax, who turned out to be a very fine interpreter of Monk's genius. But Monk's encounter with Trane is one of the immortal gifts that jazz keeps giving. Number seven was my first exposure to Monk, and it left and indelible mark.
Monk was always a bit nuts. He knew it, and he used it, but it also irritated him that everyone else knew it. What can you do? Of course, there was that hat.
Happy new year.