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Thelonious Monk

"Thelonious Sphere Monk" (October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was a jazz pianist and composer.

He is known for his unique improvisational style and many contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including his classic works "'Round Midnight" and "Blue Monk". Monk is often regarded as a founder of bebop although his playing style evolved away from the form.

His compositions and improvisations often highlight rhythmic and spatial relationships rather than melody.


Little is known about Monk's early life. He was born on October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk, with a sister named Marian who was two years older. Monk started playing the piano at the age of six; although he had some formal training and eavesdropped on his sister's piano lessons, he was essentially self-taught.

The son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk according to Birth records of State of North Carolina, Nash County, Rocky Mount, volume 3, page 1148. In the U.S. Federal Census of 1920 he was listed as "Theloins, Jr" age 2, living at 814 George Washington Ave. with his parents "Theloins," age 30 and Barbara, age 27, sister Marian, age 4...

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