Today would have been Thelonious Monk‘s 100th Birthday. He died in 1982 at just 64 years old. To celebrate the birth of one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers of all time, we’re sharing the most collected releases from Monk’s incredible catalog of releases.
It’s impossible to encapsulate Monk’s influence, but recognizing he is championed as one of the first creators of Modern Jazz and Bop (Hard Bop) is a good start. Several of his compositions have become standards, including ‘Well, You Needn’t‘, ‘Blue Monk‘, and ‘‘Round Midnight‘, but it is Monk’s creativity through dissonance, as he has stated, “The piano ain’t got no wrong notes!” that ultimately secured Monk’s impact and changed the course of modern Jazz.
Even though he’s considered a pioneer, Monk seemingly fell through the cracks of jazz critics for a good portion of his early career, which ultimately left Monk with the reputation of being a recluse, an eccentric, and demanding. With history comes amendments and it seems to most, that he was simply a quiet, family oriented genius that mirrored his playfulness at the piano more than the dissonance he pulled from it.
In celebration of 100 years of Monk, we’ve put together a list of his Top 10 most collected releases. From hardcore collector to jazz newbie, if you don’t have these records in your collection, you’re doing yourself, and Monk, a disservice.