This year marks what would have been the 100th birthday of jazz legend Thelonious Monk.
Monk was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in 1917 and moved a few years later to New York City, where he grew up playing the piano and church organ. Eventually Monk landed a spot as house pianist at a Manhattan nightclub where he began developing a unique style that would later be cited as the genesis of bebop.
With his flat-fingered performance style, dissonant chords, and nontraditional rhythms, Monk is credited with composing some of the most distinct music of the 20th century. To celebrate the life of the avant-garde musician, Duke Performances is hosting a 10-day jazz showcase, Monk@100, that features a range of modern jazz legends playing Monk’s compositions.
Host Frank Stasio talks with three of the participants: jazz pianist Kris Davis, saxophonist JD Allen, and pianist, composer and music critic Ethan Iverson. Iverson will perform on Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. at the Durham Fruit & Produce Company, a warehouse space for the arts in downtown Durham. The festival runs through Thursday, Oct. 26.
Take a listen to one of our Monk favorites, 'Green Chimneys':