I heard about Thelonious Monk from Nina Simone. I speak of her like she’s my girl, I know and in another world, she probably would have been. Because Jimmy, Hughes and I would have been best friends. And she was friends with them both. It was at a performance that she spoke about ‘who we have remaining’ after the deaths of a number of other civil rights mavericks. Monk was one of the remaining ones.
He was one of the names that challenged then-America, and possibly even present America’s views on blackness. He was the jazz prodigy whose command of piano, much like Nina, placed him in a whole other class of craft that to this day, not many people can match.
It was in Warsaw, Poland where he performed with there other musicians; Charles Rouse on tenor sax, Lawrence Gales on bass and Benjamin Riley on drums. Ever since I saw Herbie Tsoaeli on Simphiwe Dana‘s live DVD strumming that bass, I was enthralled. So besides Monk’s mastery skills on piano, Gales is killing it on bass. Killing it.
Monk is fantastic on piano. His sound is beautiful and his craft mesmerising. My jazz ear is not sophisticated, but I do appreciate him. Enjoy the performance.