CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Jan. 7, 2000
T.S. Monk celebrates the jazz genius of his dad, Thelonious
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Drummer T.S. Monk will celebrate
the jazz legacy of his father, the legendary pianist and composer Thelonious
Monk, in "Monk on Monk" at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 in Hancher Auditorium
on the University of Iowa campus.
The "Monk on Monk" concert in Hancher -- presented
as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Week at the UI -- follows up on the 1998
"Monk on Monk" CD, which was honored as "Record of the Year" in the New York
Jazz Awards and was "Jazz Album of the Year" in the readers' poll of Downbeat
Reviewing a "Monk on Monk" concert, Don Heckman wrote
in the Los Angeles Times: "Good stuff, all of it, with almost every number
underscoring and confirming the breadth and scope of Monk's creative imagination.
Not only did he compose music filled with instantly recognizable themes, but
he did so in a startling array of styles. . . . Perhaps most of all, there
was an utter individuality to all of it, never leaving the slightest doubt
that this was Monk's music. . . Somewhere, one suspects, Monk -- who died
in 1982 at 64 -- was listening, doing his trademark little dance, happily
grooving with the music."
Thelonious Sphere Monk is recognized as one of the
most influential figures in the history of jazz. He was one of the architects
of bebop and his impact as a composer and pianist has had an influence on
virtually every genre of music.
Thelonious Monk began piano lessons as a young child
and by the age of 13 he had won the weekly amateur contest at the Apollo Theater
so many times that he was barred from entering. At the age of 19, Monk joined
the house band at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, where along with Charlie Parker,
Dizzy Gillespie and a handful of other players, he developed the style of
jazz that came to be known as bebop. "Round Midnight" and other Monk compositions
served as vehicles for these soloists' musical ideas.
In 1947, Monk made his first recordings as a leader
for the Blue Note label. These albums are some of the earliest documents of
his unique compositional and improvisational style, both of which employed
unusual repetition of phrases, an offbeat use of space and joyfully dissonant
In the decade that followed, Monk played on recordings
with Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Sonny Rollins, and he recorded as a
leader for Prestige Records and later for Riverside Records.
In 1957, the Thelonious Monk Quartet, which included
John Coltrane, began a regular gig at the Five Spot. The group's performances
were hugely successful and received the highest critical praise.
Over the next few years, Monk toured the United States
and Europe and made some of his most influential recordings. In 1964, Thelonious
Monk appeared on the cover of Time magazine, an honor that has been bestowed
on only three other jazz musicians. By this time, Monk was a favorite at jazz
festivals around the world.
In the early '70s he discontinued touring and recording
and appeared only on rare occasions at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the
Newport Jazz Festival.
His more than 70 compositions are regarded as classics,
and they continue to inspire artists in many forms of music. In his lifetime
he received numerous awards and continues to be honored posthumously. The
Smithsonian Institution has immortalized his work with an archive of his music.
In addition, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor. A feature
documentary on Monk's life, "Straight, No Chaser" was released to critical
The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz was founded
to honor Monk by preserving the music to which he dedicated his life.
T.S. Monk had an extraordinary childhood, as the son
of one of the central figures in jazz. The Monk home was the gathering place
for musicians including Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie
and Max Roach.
As a child, T.S. first played trumpet. However, he
moved on to the drums after receiving encouragement from Max Roach who gave
him his first pair of drum sticks and Art Blakey who gave him his first full
T.S. played for four years with his father's band,
was a member of the Atlantic Record's nine-piece fusion band Natural Essence
and recorded four albums with Paul Jeffrey's Big Band. He formed the group
"T.S. Monk" with his sister Boo Boo Monk and vocalist Yvonne Fletcher, with
whom he recorded three albums for Mirage Records and charted a top 40 hit
with their single "Bon Bon Vie." T.S. went on to record an album on Manhattan
Records entitled "Merc' N Monk" with composer Eric Mercury.
In preparation for "coming out" in the jazz arena,
T. S. performed with Clifford Jordan's Big Band for almost a year. He then
released his first mainstream jazz CD as a leader on Blue Note Records. "Take
One," released in the summer of 1992, met immediate critical acclaim.
In celebrating the legacy of his father, T.S. Monk
has become -- along with Wynton Marsalis and Billy Taylor -- among the most
widely known jazz spokespersons in America. He served as artistic director
for "A Tribute to America's Music" televised on ABC-TV and produced by The
Thelonious Monk Institute. He also hosted the nationally televised "Jazz at
the White House" and has been the chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute
for more than a decade.
T.S. simply sees himself giving back to jazz what
jazz and his father have given him. "I can't do what my father did musically,
but my father's legacy has afforded me the opportunity to spread the appreciation
and acknowledgement of jazz internationally."
Learn more about T.S. Monk and Thelonious Monk on
the World Wide Web at <http://www.jazzcorner.com/monk/monkbiography.html>.
For information on UI arts, visit <http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr>.
Corporate sponsors of "Monk on Monk" are UI Men's
Intercollegiate Athletics and Group 5 Hospitality/Radisson Highlander Plaza,
through the University of Iowa Foundation, with media support from the Iowa
Tickets for "Monk on Monk" are $28, $26 and $24. UI
students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone
3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for children 17 and younger
are half price. Hancher volume-purchase discounts are still available.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays,
and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160.
Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may
be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge
their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select
the option of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and
auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered
by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking,
wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The
line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that
(NOTE TO EDITORS: T.S. Monk interview requests
should be directed to Ed Keane at 617-567-6300. Fax: 617-569-5949. E-mail: