Wednesday, October 03, 2007

September 9, 2007 Monk's 90th
This evening I join the celebration of what would have been the 90th birthday of Thelonius Monk. Duke Performences, through the fine work of Aaron Greenwald, is presenting a six-week festival of the genius of Monk. The Following Monk music festival brings to the Duke University campus many of the premiere jazz performers from around the world, with a special invitation to those who had direct ties to Monk. Thelonius Monk, who was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on October 10, 1917, is arguably the state's greatest creative talent. His dominant influence continues to preside today.

I was pleased to have Aaron Greenwald in the studio with me to discuss both the Following Monk festival and the 18 perform- ances that will be spread over the six-week period from September 15th - October 28th. I brought several Monk CDs with me and Aaron did, too. So in between talking about the importance of the life and works of Thelonius Monk, I played his music. (Monk photo credit: Library and Archives Canada)

Monk Playlist
  • Thelonius Monk Himself CD; April in Paris
  • Thelonius Monk Quartet Misterioso CD; Nutty
  • Thelonius Monk Plays Duke Ellington CD; It Don't Mean a Thing
  • Thelonius Monk & John Coltrane - the Riverside Recordings CD; Crepuscula with Nellie
  • Thelonius Monk Quartet Misterioso CD; 'Round Midnight
  • Thelonius Monk Himself CD; Monk's Mood
I thank Aaron for coming in to the WCOM studio and sharing the stories of Monk and his clear love, appreciation, and respect for the genius that Monk was. My radio show can be heard each Sunday night from 7:00 - 9:00 EST. You can listen on the radio in the local area to this 100 Watts of Wonder station at 103.5 fm or from anywhere in the world by going to the worldwide web and from your computer go to and you can hear the show off of your computer. You can call in comments or requests by dialing 919 929-9601.

For those of you interested in learning more about Thelonius Monk and the incredible music scene that surrounded him in NYC, be sure to check out the Loft Project by going to

I was also joined this evening by the Knaack & Kramer family. The stars of the evening were Gabe Knaack (aged 8) and Zoe Knaack (aged 6). Their parents, Julie and William, brought along Julie's parents, Steve (Papa) and Mary (Nana). Unbelievably enough, Zoe not only wrote a song for the show but with great poise and confidence, sang it on the air. She gave it a great jazzy title of Give Me Five. Following the song, Gabe offered a poetry challenge to the audience - of what has five lines of which the first, second and fifth line rhythm and the second and third rhythm and are shorter. Heather Binnie from Carrboro called in the correct answer of - Limerick.

  • Nina Simone (b. Tryon, NC); Anthology CD; I Wish I Knew How it Would Fell to be Free
  • Charlie Parker; Charlie Parker CD; Now's the Time
  • Charlie Haden/Hank Jones; Steal Away CD; Steal Away
  • Mary Lou Williams (died Durham, NC); Mama Pinned a Rose on Me CD; The Rose
Please join me again next week!


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