T. S. Monk
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|T. S. Monk|
T. S. Monk at the Newport Jazz Festival on August 13, 2005
|Birth name||Thelonious Sphere Monk III|
|Born||December 27, 1949|
|Origin||New York City, United States|
|Genres||Jazz, Funk, Soul music, hard bop, post-bop, neo-bop|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, drummer, percussionist, composer, bandleader|
Born in New York City, he began his music career early in his life, honing his skills throughout the 1970s. Monk's destiny was sealed when Art Blakey, gave him his first drum set at the age of 15, and began lessons with Max Roach. After earning a reputation in school as a rabble-rouser (and graduating), the young Monk joined his father's trio and toured with his dad until the elder Monk's retirement in 1975. Monk then launched into the music that had captivated him and his generation, R&B. He first toured with a group called Natural Essence and afterward, along with his sister Barbara, formed his own band. By the dawning of the 1980s, he had formed his eponymous band, which featured him on drums and occasional lead vocals. The group's début album, 1980's House of Music, featured several hits that placed on the Billboard R&B chart, including "Bon Bon Vie (Gimme the Good Life)", which featured Monk on lead vocals, and "Candidate for Love". The tracks peaked at No. 63 and No. 58 respectively, in the UK Singles Chart. The band went on to release two more albums throughout the early 1980s, though singles released from these albums did not fare as well as those on the début. The band broke up shortly thereafter.
Shortly after his father died in 1982, his sister, Barbara, died of cancer in 1984. To honor his father's legacy and support the efforts of education, Monk created the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
Monk received the New York Jazz Awards First Annual "Recording of the Year" award and Downbeats' 63rd annual Album of the Year Reader's Choice Award for Monk on Monk. This is the "80th Anniversary Birthday Tribute to Thelonious Sphere Monk" featuring 20 guest artists including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Arturo Sandoval, Dianne Reeves, Nnenna Freelon, and Howard Johnson.
By the 1990s, Monk was ready to begin his solo career, in which he has taken a decidedly more jazz-oriented direction. For two consecutive seasons, December 1996 and January 1998, on ABC, jazz returned to network television after a twenty-five-year absence. Sponsored by Nissan and the Thelonious Monk Institute, under the guidance of Monk, a historic assemblage of artists gathered for 'A Celebration of America's Music' hosted by Bill Cosby and featuring Natalie Cole, Jon Secada, Tony Bennett, k.d. lang, as well as Thelonious performing his father's signature tune, "'Round Midnight", with Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and Nnenna Freelon.
T. S. currently resides in New Jersey. He is a self proclaimed ambassador of Jazz history, as an educator who cultivates master classes nationwide with high school and college musicians. His ongoing mentorship to the Cicely Tyson School of Arts being of note. His current focus is to bring as much attention as possible to his father's centennial. He and his estate team have worked with cultural organizations around the world to pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Father of Modern Jazz. In addition to keynote speaking and participating in Jazz history symposiums, he has taken his father's music and reinterpreted it with the T. S. Monk Sextet, both nationally and internationally.
- House of Music (1980)
- More of the Good Life (1981)
- Human (1982)
- Take One (1992)
- Changing of the Guard (1993)
- The Charm (1995)
- Monk on Monk (1997)
- Crosstalk (1999)
- Higher Ground (2003)
With Louis Hayes
- Breath of Life (Muse, 1974)