Monk, Thelonious (1917–1982) By Garlitz, Dustin
Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer. One of the earliest performers in the bebop movement of modern jazz dating from the mid-twentieth century, namely the 1940s in New York City, Monk performed original compositions in neighborhoods there such as Harlem and Greenwich Village, as well as the thriving 52nd Street district of jazz nightclubs. The pianist performed with other leading figures in modern jazz including bebop progenitors Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and avant-garde saxophonist John Coltrane, all of whom performed and recorded Monk’s compositions. Monk’s compositions are some of the most commonly performed jazz standards today. Giddins and DeVeaux (2009) argue that Monk’s compositions are the second most frequently performed standards written by any one composer in jazz today, after those of pianist and big-band leader Duke Ellington.