Throwback: Black History Month: Thelonious Monk

Today is the 27th day of Black History Month. Over the course of the month, I’ll spend some time paying tribute to Black artists across a wide and diverse array of genres and styles. My hope is that these posts should serve as an important reminder that the Black experience is the American experience, that Black culture is American culture — and importantly, Black lives and Black art matter. You can’t love Black art and Black artists without giving a shit about Black people. 

This month won’t be a comprehensive study of Black music. It’ll be more idiosyncratic because — well, JOVM after all. Now, if you’ve been following this site, you may recall that so far I’ve paid tribute to:

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts, jazz, the blues and hip-hop are arguably the purest forms of American music, created, developed and honed by talented Black people. Although the month has rapidly come to a close, I wanted to end the month by continuing to pay tribute to Black artists.

Today, I wanted to pay tribute to Thelonious Monk, one of jazz’s most unique and mischievous characters. He was known to get so caught up in the groove that he would stop playing and start dancing and bopping along to the music. In this life footage, shot in the mid 60s, you can see him actually get up and start bopping along as though he were in a trance.

Oh and a word of advice, check out Solo Monk, an album of Monk performing compositions on just his piano. The compositions are playful, charming and as unique as he was.