Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Thelonious

He would have been 90 years young today. The great composer and pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk was born on this day in 1917.

As a pianist, Monk seemed to elicit sounds from between the keys (or, as one of his compositions is entitled, Ugly Beauty) .

New Yorker critic Whitney Balliett (who died earlier this year) described jazz as "the sound of surprise". Listen to Monk's Pannonica, and you'll hear what he meant.

As a prolific composer, Monk gave us pieces of ravishing beauty. So, around midnight, turn off the lights, sip a wee dram- and if you're fortunate enough, hold hands with someone you love - and listen to Monk's solo recordings of his own Crepuscule with Nellie, to Ruby, My Dear, to 'Round Midnight.

Thank you, Thelonious.

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