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Thelonious Monk :  The Life and Times of an American Original - Robin Kelley

Thelonious Monk

The Life and Times of an American Original

Paperback Published: 2nd November 2010
ISBN: 9781439190463
Number Of Pages: 592

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THELONIOUS MONK is the critically acclaimed, 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. To his fans, he was the ultimate hipster; to his detractors, he was temperamental, eccentric, taciturn, or childlike. His angular melodies and dissonant harmonies shook the jazz world to its foundations, ushering in the birth of 'bebop' and establishing Monk as one of America's greatest com­posers. Elegantly written and rich with humor and pathos, Thelonious Monk is the definitive work on modern jazz's most original composer.

About The Author

Robin D.G. Kelley is a professor of history and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. From 2003-2006, he was the William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies at Columbia Univeristy. From 1994-2003, he was a professor of history and Africana Studies at New York University as well the chairman of NYU's history department from 2002-2003.

One of the youngest tenured professors in a full academic discipline--at the age of 32--Kelley has spent most of his career exploring American and African-American history with a particular emphasis on African-American musical culture, including jazz and hip-hop.

"Monk's story, from roots in slavery, to the Great Migration north, to the cultural explosions of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, encapsulates a vivid tableau of twentieth-century American life and music. This biography is, at its best, a fitting tribute to one of America's most original and lasting creative geniuses."
--The Sacramento Book Review
..".extraordinary and heroically detailed... I doubt there will be a biography anytime soon that is as textured, thorough and knowing as Kelley's. The 'genius of modern music' has gotten the passionate and compassionate advocate he deserves."
--August Kleinzahler, The New York Times Book Review
"An omnibus of myth busting."
--Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
"Every step of Monk's musical journey is teased out in meticulous detail...whether he's charting the highs or lows of Monk's emotional swings, Kelley rarely strays from his central theme of an extraordinary talent pushing against the boundaries of his art."
--Publishers Weekly
"A wealth of historical context is richly studded with details of Monk's family background and the broader world in which he lived and worked... Likely the most thorough possible illumination of the man behind the legend."
--Library Journal
"Robin D. G. Kelley's exhaustive, necessary, and as of now definitive [book] offers a Baedeker of sorts...Kelley has created a lush portrait of the private, off-camera Monk, one it would have been difficult to paint without the unprecedented access he had to the Monk family."
--David Yaffe, The Nation
..".as complete a picture of this complex, original and enigmatic artist as possible... this very welcome book is certain to be a go-to reference."
--Down Beat Magazine
"Kelley hopes to balance Monk's brilliance and historic achievements with his quirks and serious problems (bipolar disorder) to take the true measure of the man. Dedicated readers of jazz history and students of Cold War and Civil Rights Era culture won't be disappointed."
--The New Haven Advocate
"Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original is one of the most anticipated books in jazz scholarship, and well worth the wait. Robin D. G. Kelley represents one of this generation's most important voices equipped with the knowledge, passion, and respect for both jazz and jazz musicians required to interpret the many details and nuances of Thelonious Monk's life. This compelling book will both challenge old assumptions and inspire new assessments of the life and legacy one of the world's greatest musicians."
--GERI ALLEN, pianist, composer, and Director of the Jazz Studies Department at the University of Pittsburgh
..".a massive and impressive undertaking... Thoroughly researched, meticulously footnoted, and beautifully crafted, Thelonious Monk presents the most complete, most revealing portrait ever assembled of the man known as the high priest of bebop."
--Steve Greenlee, The Boston Globe
"Thelonious Monk was a true original... This affectionate biography fills in the fascinating and heart-wrenching backstory of an artist the world has always longed to know better."
--The Christian Science Monitor
"This is an authoritative tome that pulls aside, without completely lifting, the shroud of mystery that has long surrounded one of the most enigmatic figures in the history of jazz."
--Russ Musto, AllAboutJazz.com
"A seminal examination of the man and his music."
--Bay State Banner
"Robin Kelley's new biography Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original is a breath of fresh air among the biographies of our legendary jazz musicians. This book is thorough, detailed, and written with a true affinity for Monk's humaneness and creative musical output. It fills in the missing pieces about the growth of the jazz scene in New York through the forties, fifties, and sixties, detailing each step of Monk's development--who passed through his bands, what gigs he played, and what happened on those scenes. It's an invaluable and close look at the center of the world's most important creative musical developments in those decades: New York City."
--Chick Corea, the Grammy-winning composer and pianist
"Powerful, enraging, and enduring.... In Robin Kelley's finely grained and surely definitive life and-times study, Thelonious Monk, an American original, has found an original biographer."
--DAVID LEVERING LEWIS, biographer of W. E. B. Du Bois and Pulitzer Prize winner
"An honest and eloquent treatment of one of our most important artists, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original is a stunning tour de force! It is the most comprehensive treatment of Monk's life to date. Furthermore, in Monk's story, Kelley has found the perfect medium to shed light on a nation's and a people's history and persistent quest for freedom. In so doing he has given us a book that is as bold, brilliant, and beautiful as Monk and his music."
--FARAH JASMINE GRIFFIN, author of If You Can't Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday

Prefacep. xv
Preludep. xvii
"My Mother Didn't Want Me to Grow Up in North Carolina"p. 1
"What Is Jazz? New York, Man!"p. 15
"I Always Did Want to Play Piano"p. 25
"We Played and She Healed"p. 40
"Why Can't You Play Music Like the Ink Spots?"p. 51
"They Weren't Giving Any Lectures"p. 60
"Since You Went Away I Missed You"p. 76
"I'm Trying to See If It's a Hit"p. 89
"Dizzy and Bird Did Nothing for Me Musically"p. 104
"The George Washington of Bebop"p. 122
"It's a Drag to Be in Jail"p. 143
"The 'Un' Years"p. 156
"France Libre!"p. 170
"Sometimes I Play Things I Never Heard Myself"p. 178
"The Greta Garbo of Jazz"p. 187
"As Long as I Can Make a Living"p. 198
"People Have Tried to Put Me Off as Being Crazy"p. 214
"My Time for Fame Will Come"p. 225
"The Police Just Mess with You ... for Nothing"p. 240
"Make Sure Them Tempos Are Right"p. 257
"Hell, I Did That Twenty-Five Years Ago"p. 279
"Bebopens Oversteprast"p. 298
"Maybe I'm a Major Influence"p. 310
"Everything Begins Here and Everything Ends Here"p. 327
"That's a Drag Picture They're Paintin' of Me"p. 345
"Sometimes I Don't Feel Like Talking"p. 363
"Let Someone Else Create Something New!"p. 386
"What Do I Have to Do? Play Myself to Death?"p. 409
"I Am Very Seriously Ill"p. 431
Postludep. 449
Acknowledgmentsp. 453
A Technical Note on Monk's Musicp. 461
Records and Tapes in Thelonious Monk's Personal Collectionp. 463
Notesp. 465
Original Compositionsp. 565
Selected Recordingsp. 573
Selected Documentaries and Videos of Thelonious Monkp. 575
Indexp. 577
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781439190463
ISBN-10: 1439190461
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 592
Published: 2nd November 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.4  x 3.9
Weight (kg): 0.64