Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

by Robin D. G. Kelley
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

by Robin D. G. Kelley



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From the mind of brilliant historian Robin Kelley comes the first full biography of legendary jazz musician Thelonious Monk, including full access to the family's archives, dozens of interviews, and an afterword for Monk’s 2017 centennial.

Thelonious Monk is the critically acclaimed, gripping saga of an artist’s struggle to “make it” without compromising his musical vision. It is a story that, like its subject, reflects the tidal ebbs and flows of American history in the twentieth century.

To his fans, he was the ultimate hipster; to his detractors, he was temperamental, eccentric, taciturn, or childlike. His angular melodies and dissonant harmonies shook the jazz world to its foundations, ushering in the birth of “bebop” and establishing Monk as one of America’s greatest com­posers.

Elegantly written and rich with humor and pathos, Thelonious Monk is the definitive work on modern jazz’s most original composer.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439190494
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 12/08/2009
Format: eBook
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 953,833
File size: 30 MB
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About the Author

Robin D. G. Kelley teaches History at UCLA and is the author of several books, including Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination and Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.

Table of Contents

Preface xv

Prelude xvii

1 "My Mother Didn't Want Me to Grow Up in North Carolina" 1

2 "What Is Jazz" New York, Man!" 15

3 "I Always Did Want to Play Piano" 25

4 "We Played and She Healed" 40

5 "Why Can't You Play Music Like the Ink Spots"" 51

6 "They Weren't Giving Any Lectures" 60

7 "Since You Went Away I Missed You" 76

8 "I'm Trying to See If It's a Hit" 89

9 "Dizzy and Bird Did Nothing for Me Musically" 104

10 "The George Washington of Bebop" 122

11 "It's a Drag to Be in Jail" 143

12 "The 'Un' Years" 156

13 "France Libre!" 170

14 "Sometimes I Play Things I Never Heard Myself" 178

15 "The Greta Garbo of Jazz" 187

16 "As Long as I Can Make a Living" 198

17 "People Have Tried to Put Me Off as Being Crazy" 214

18 "My Time for Fame Will Come" 225

19 "The Police Just Mess with You ... for Nothing" 240

20 "Make Sure Them Tempos Are Right" 257

21 "Hell, I Did That Twenty-Five Years Ago" 279

22 "Bebopens Oversteprast" 298

23 "Maybe I'm a Major Influence" 310

24 "Everything Begins Here and Everything Ends Here" 327

25 "That's a Drag Picture They're Paintin' of Me" 345

26 "Sometimes I Don't Feel Like Talking" 363

27 "Let Someone Else Create Something New!" 386

28 "What Do I Have to Do" Play Myself to Death"" 409

29 "I Am Very Seriously Ill" 431

Postlude 449

Acknowledgments 453

Appendix A A Technical Note on Monk's Music 461

Appendix B Records and Tapes in Thelonious Monk's Personal Collection 463

Notes 465

Original Compositions Thelonious Monk 565

Selected Recordings Thelonious Monk 573

Selected Documentaries and Videos of Thelonious Monk 575

Index 577

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