Robin D.G. Kelley – Thelonious Monk: The Life And Times Of An American Original
Never has there been another artist like Monk and, in its 624 pages, this book captures all the history, stories, players, family, events… everything you could ever want to know (and more), with intelligence, clarity, empathy, and a completeness bordering on obsessive.
Hands-down one of the very best music biographies I have read. Ever.
Perhaps that blurb on Amazon tells you more:
The first full biography of legendary jazz musician Thelonious Monk, written by a brilliant historian, with full access to the family’s archives and with dozens of interviews. Now updated with an afterword for Monk’s 2017 centennial.
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.