One Example of an American Jazz Genius

“Everybody in all countries tries to play jazz.” –Thelonius Monk

That is so very true. Jazz has always been appreciated and loved outside of its country of origin: the U.S.A. Look at how so many American Jazz artists had to go abroad, mainly to Europe, to make it! Even today, 2013, when visitors from abroad come to our shores, they want to visit jazz clubs in NYC like The Blue Note Jazz Club.

Jazz musician, Thelonius Monk, made the prestigious cover of Time Magazine on this day in history, February 28th in 1964. Before Monk, just a few other jazz musicians graced Time’s cover, so this was a big deal. Monk had a reputation for being eccentric with odd behavior that today might be categorized as Tourette’s Syndrome, Bipolar and other mental illnesses, so his career was erratic. A good biography to read on Monk is  Thelonius Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original by Robin Kelley. “Thelonious Monk is the gripping saga of an artist’s struggle to “make it” without compromising his musical vision. It is a story that, like its subject, reflects the tidal ebbs and flows of American history in the twentieth century.” (  

 When you have the time, watch the Clint Eastwood (himself a lover of jazz and a composer/pianist) documentary that he produced on Monk, Straight, No Chaser on You Tube.  

Also, here are some really interesting articles to read: Monk’s Moods, The Book, Mental Health Matters, Thelonius Monk Makes the Cover of Time Magazine, Thelonius Monk: Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.