David's Reviews > Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

Thelonious Monk by Robin D.G. Kelley
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A map of the dense network of collaborations that made the jazz world hum in the 1940s to 1960s. By the 1960s, unfortunately, the hum gradually diminished by the death of one musician after another, and each passing left a mark on Monk.

Kelley gives us the backstory to many signature Monk pieces, their original names, where the chords came from. He doesn't lean into the harmonic analysis of the works, but TIL that "In Walked Bud" is based (loosely) on the changes of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" (p. 129).

And that network again: business relationships with Harry and Jules Colomby nearly resulted in a Monk project with Blood, Sweat & Tears and their drummer, Bobby Colomby (p. 402).

A beefy biography that complements Ninth Street Women, as the two books share the venue of the Five Spot in the East Village.

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Reading Progress

January 28, 2019 – Started Reading
January 28, 2019 – Shelved
March, 2019 – Finished Reading

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