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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    T.S. Monk continues father’s beat


    To hear T.S. Monk explain it, the jazz industry has trouble competing with other forms of music for a young audience — and for good reason.

    “”You’ve got $50. You going to see Wynton Marsalis or you going to see Lady Gaga? A lot of young people are going to see Lady Gaga,”” Monk says. “”What is she doing? She’s heavily immersed in entertainment.””

    And entertainment is what Monk said he wants to provide the audience with UApresents’ “”Monk on Monk”” concert at 7 p.m. this Sunday at Centennial Hall.

    Named after Monk’s 1997 tribute album to what would have been his father’s 80th birthday, the concert has evolved, according to Monk, to showcase three explorations of his father’s career: his famed quartet music, his little-known sextet work and Monk’s big band interpretation of his father’s music.

    “”It’s also about stories, object lessons that I learned from him. It becomes a nice night of (Thelonious) Monk’s music with his son leading the charge,”” Monk says.

    “”It serves really as a battery charger for me, so I come into it super enthusiastic just because I love playing my father’s music, and I don’t get a chance to do it that often.””

    It’s easy to see why. Monk wears many hats: chairman of the board of trustees for the nonprofit Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz; bandleader of his own sextet and the “”Monk on Monk”” tentet; and a drummer and singer who blends jazz, funk and R&B on his albums.

    But the biggest hat he wears is that of the son of the legendary jazz pianist, Thelonious Monk.

    “”When I started my jazz band in 1992, of course the first thing out of everybody’s mouth was, ‘You need to do a tribute to your father,'”” Monk says. “”I said, ‘You know what, how about no? How about I just plug away here for a few years and get a little bit of credibility first?'””

    Monk’s work and experience culminated in the acclaimed big-band tribute “”Monk on Monk.””

    After his father died in 1982, T.S. Monk’s sister Barbara fought to protect their father’s legacy and music, but died of breast cancer in 1984 before she could see the

    Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz established. T.S. continued his sister’s goal and developed the institute into an internationally renowned jazz education organization.

    “”I know that he would laugh (about the institute) because he wouldn’t believe it. ‘My name? Why do you want to use my name?’ I know that’s the kind of thing he would say. He really, really wasn’t full of himself,”” Monk says. “”If my sister were alive, she would be the chairman. … I was four years older than her and she was the one who told me and explained to me how precious our daddy’s legacy was and how we were going to have to be proactive about protecting it.””

    With “”Monk on Monk,”” the audience in Centennial Hall will get its chance to experience Thelonious Monk’s legacy through his son.

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