Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz
 

About Us - Thelonious Monk

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Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-1982) is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz. He was one of the architects of bebop and his impact as a composer and pianist has had a profound influence on every genre of music.

Monk was born on October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, but his parents, Barbara Batts and Thelonious Monk, soon moved the family to New York City. Monk began piano lessons as a young child and by the age of 13 he had won the weekly amateur contest at the Apollo Theater so many times that he was barred from entering. At the age of 19, Monk joined the house band at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, where along with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and a handful of other players, he developed the style of jazz that came to be known as bebop. Monk's compositions, among them "Round Midnight," were the canvasses upon which these legendary soloists expressed their musical ideas.

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