Thelonious Monk

Quote: “A genius is the one most like himself” – Thelonious Monk

Easton Davy on Monk

“For me Thelonious Monk epitomizes what I try to do with my art. Monk was the master of improvisation. His notes were so disjoining; they did not always fit but they formed a whole. My art is like that. Monk was never sketching. His music was always about the essence. That inspires me and I feel related with his approach. I am doing the same. I only made a few paintings of Monk, but I cherish them and with his music he comes back to life.”   

Thelonious Monk (1917-1982) was an influential American jazz pianist and composer known for his unique style and innovative approach to music. He was one of the pioneers of bebop, a style of jazz that emerged in the 1940s characterized by complex harmonies and fast tempos. Monk's contributions to jazz were immense, and he is considered one of the greatest jazz composers and pianists of all time.Monk's playing style was characterized by dissonant harmonies, angular melodic lines, and dramatic use of silence and space. He had a distinctive approach to the piano, often using unexpected accents and unconventional chord voicings.

His compositions, such as "Round Midnight," "Blue Monk," and "Straight, No Chaser," have become jazz standards and are widely performed by musicians around the world. Despite his unconventional playing style, Monk's music was deeply rooted in the blues tradition, and he had a knack for creating memorable and emotive melodies. He also had a unique stage presence, with his distinctive hats and idiosyncratic dance moves while playing the piano, which added to his legendary status in the jazz world. 

Monk's influence on jazz and other forms of music continues to be felt today. His compositions are studied by musicians, and his recordings are cherished by jazz enthusiasts. He received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, cementing his legacy as a true jazz icon.