Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Meet - Thelonious S. Monk, Jr.

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Thelonious S. Monk, Jr.Chairman, Institute Board of Trustees

Thelonious Monk, Jr. co-founded the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in memory of his father, and for 25 years has been actively involved in the Institute's year-round programs. Monk co-hosts the annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and participates each year in the Institute's BeBop to Hip-Hop, Blues & Jazz, Jazz in America, and Jazz in the Classroom programs, often speaking to public school students about the importance of jazz.

Thelonious Monk, Jr. had an extraordinary childhood.  As the son of jazz composer and pianist Thelonious Monk, his home was the gathering place for Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Horace Silver, and other musicians who created some of the greatest jazz music of all time.  As a child, Monk began playing drums after receiving encouragement and his first pair of drum sticks from Max Roach and his first full drum set from Art Blakey.  He was then on his way toward becoming an accomplished jazz and R&B drummer.  Monk played for two years with his father's band and was a member of Atlantic Records' nine-piece fusion band Natural Essence.  He then formed the group "T.S. Monk" with his sister Barbara Monk and vocalist Yvonne Fletcher.  The group recorded three albums for Mirage Records and charted a top 20 hit with its single "Bon Bon Vie" followed by "Too Much Too Soon."  In 1992, Monk formed a straight-ahead septet and released Take One on Blue Note Records, which was followed by Changing of the Guard and the critically acclaimed The Charm. He celebrated his father's 80th birthday with the all-star recording Monk on Monkfollowed by Crosstalk, which featured the group expanding into new territory that incorporated fusion, funk, and even vocals. Monk’s most recent release, Higher Ground, ventures into the realms of smooth jazz and funk.

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