Jazz at the Bechtler: More and More Monk

Jazz at the Bechtler: More and More Monk



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6:00 p.m. show is sold out, tickets remain for the 8:15 p.m. show.

Known as one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz, Thelonious Sphere Monk has impacted every genre of music as a composer as well as a pianist. Originally a native of Rocky Mount, NC, Monk’s parents would soon move the family to New York City. Beginning piano lessons at an early age, Monk would evolve into a child prodigy. At the young age of 13, he was barred from entering the weekly amateur contest at the Apollo because he had won it too many times. At age 17, Monk dropped out of the esteemed Stuyvesant High School to pursue his music career. 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.

 Unusual repetition of phrases, an offbeat use of space and joyfully dissonant sounds shaped his unique compositional and improvisational style which can be heard in his earlier albums from 1947. In the decade that followed, Monk played on recordings with Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and recorded as a leader for Prestige Records and later for Riverside Records. Brilliant Corners and Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane were two of the albums from this period that brought Monk international attention as a pianist and composer.

 As Monk saw it, “The piano ain’t got no wrong notes!” In 1957, the Thelonious Monk Quartet, which included John Coltrane, began performing regularly at the Five Spot in New York. The group would later tour the United States and even make some appearances in Europe. By 1962, Columbia Records offered Monk a contract due to his popularity. In 1964, Monk became one of four jazz musicians ever to be displayed on the cover of Time Magazine.

 After retiring from the limelight in 1971, Monk spent the rest of his days battling repeated illnesses before a stroke took his life in 1982. He has since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and added to the Library of Congress’s national Recording Registry. The Smithsonian Institution has immortalized Monk’s work with an archive of his music. In addition, the US Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor. A feature documentary on Monk’s life, Straight, No Chaser, was released to critical acclaim. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz was founded to honor Monk by preserving the music to which he dedicated his life. Monk’s integrity, originality and unique approach set a standard that is a shining example for all who strive for musical excellence.


Concerts are performed at 6 and 8:15 p.m. with no intermissions. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. concert and 7:45 p.m. for the 8:15 p.m. concert. General seating is first come, first served. Enjoy light bites and a cash-only bar. Standing room only is available after all seats are claimed.


Tickets are $14 for the public and $8 for museum members. online online, by phone at 704.353.9200 or at the admission desk. View the full 2016-'17 Jazz at the Bechtler lineup here.

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ex © 2018 Bechtler Museum of Modern Art All images and content copyright. All rights reserved. Credits: Design: MODE. Artwork Photography: JoAnn Sieburg-Baker, David Ramsey General Photography: Eric Bahrs, Mitchell Kearney, Gary O'Brien, Nancy Pierce, Maxim Vakhovskiy Copywriting: Pam Davis Charlotte Skyline Photo: courtesy of Visit Charlotte School of Paris: John Boyer (Copy), MODE (Design)
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