Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original Thelonious Monk discussion


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How does book discuss his musical contributions to jazz?

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CyLarge To people who've read the book, I was wondering if you could tell me how, or if, the book discusses some of his creative, harmonic inventions that he brought to the table. Does it just chronicle the happenings of his life? Does it discuss the music theory aspect of it in a stiff and detached manner (like many other books tend to do)? I imagine with it being over 600 pages that it's all inclusive, but having discovered the book yesterday, I've yet to find any review mentioning the purely music side of Monk's story.


Scott No, there is relatively little discussion of music theory. Kelley doesn't really make an effort to place Monk within a context of the history of jazz except insofar as to note the people and places he played, and the ways in which his playing differed from that of the rest of "bebop." Of great interest was the appeal Monk had in the latter part of the 1950's and early 1960's to early so-called "avant garde" jazz musicians. Ornette Coleman, among others, was particularly interested in his music -- his dissonance, his tendency to not just solo over chord changes but incorporate the melody.


Willard Brickey I agree, and that's a little strange, because if memory serves the author is a pianist as well as a (an?) historian. I recommend the book regardless.


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