A LESSON IN MONK | JAZZ & SNAZZ

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thelonious-monk-monks-musicMONK STRAP SHOE FOOTWEAR

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thelonious monk

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Thelonious Monk is guy who’s music & style you either get or don’t.  In falls in the realm of atonal jazz, which some consider to be not so friendly on the ear at times.  I think it’s brilliant, and invites the listener in to experience the music in a unique and very personal way.  Thelonious played with such reckless beauty, and his phrasing was at times more suggestive than literal– I swear, sometimes I hear notes that aren’t even there.  He composed around 70 original pieces and recorded them over and over, so it’s possible to have a huge collection of different arrangements with different flavors.

His personal style of dress also had a lot of savory flavor–

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thelonious monkthelonious monk

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Monkzone –

As much as Monk helped usher in the bebop revolution, he also charted a new course for modern music few were willing to follow. Whereas most pianists of the bebop era played sparse chords in the left hand and emphasized fast, even eighth and sixteenth notes in the right hand, Monk combined an active right hand with an equally active left hand, fusing stride and angular rhythms that utilized the entire keyboard. And in an era when fast, dense, virtuosic solos were the order of the day, Monk was famous for his use of space and silence. In addition to his unique phrasing and economy of notes, Monk would “lay out” pretty regularly, enabling his sidemen to experiment free of the piano’s fixed pitches. As a composer, Monk was less interested in writing new melodic lines over popular chord progressions than in creating a whole new architecture for his music, one in which harmony and rhythm melded seamlessly with the melody. “Everything I play is different,” Monk once explained, “different melody, different harmony, different structure. Each piece is different from the other. . . . When the song tells a story, when it gets a certain sound, then it’s through . . . completed.”

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thelonious monk

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"A Great Day in Harlem"

"A Great Day in Harlem"

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thelonious_monk

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How about this picture of Monk and Ginsberg?  Read the note Ginsberg wrote on the back–

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ginsberg and thelonious monk

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ginsberg note

"after playing... and shooting up" Kids- don't try this at home.

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A lot like Thelonious himself, the monk strap shoe is a little more eccentric than his straight-laced kin. They look great dressed up or down, but I like to kick it up a little and wear ‘em with whatever, like Sid– and sans socks goes without saying.  After eyeing Edward Green and John Lobb for a long, hard time– a little bird told me about Shipton & Heneage, which are bench made in Northampton, England– and at a fraction of the cost.  I have owned a pair in brown suede for a while now, and dying to head back for more, but first things first– like a job. Funny how the Brits wear suede in the Spring and us Yanks wear it in the Fall.  Heck, I wear it all year round.

monk strap footwear shoe

9 thoughts on “A LESSON IN MONK | JAZZ & SNAZZ

  1. Perhaps I’m not as much a fan of the atonal. But I found two jazz albums on iTunes that coincidentally were recorded in 1955 and 1956 and I love them both:

    Clifford Brown with Strings. Evokes late night New York, West Village.

    The Paul Desmond Quintet.

    Just pour yourself a Scotch and soda and sit back and relax….

  2. The man played phenomenal music, and had a sense of style far beyond his time. Great post.

    Straight! No chaser!

  3. There is a killer line of tees called Friend or Foe that does amazing things with Mr. Monk’s album art. They also do many other iconic jazz/blues greats.

  4. Monk was the greatest, perhaps America’s greatest 20th century musician. The red wagon album is one of his best, with both Coleman hawkins and Coltrane, plus Art Blakey on drums , his best drummer in my opinion.

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