NPR

After Midnight: Thelonious Monk At 100

Misunderstood early in his career, the jazz pianist and composer — born Oct. 10, 1917 — came to have a massive effect on American music.
Thelonious Monk performs in London in 1970. Source: David Redfern

He was called "the high priest of bebop." With his goatee, dark sunglasses and exotic hats, Thelonious Monk was the quintessential hepcat. He patted his feet in mad rhythm while he was playing — and when his sidemen soloed, he got up and danced in circles.

Monk, who was born 100 years ago today, was also one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. The late pianist wrote about 70 songs during his career — many of

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR5 min read
A Great African Kingdom Tells Its History In Fabulous Royal Clothes
An exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art finds political power in dizzying patterns from the Kuba Kingdom — located in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
NPR5 min readPolitics
The Russia Investigations: Why Are Democrats Avoiding The Russia Imbroglio?
Democrats have placed their chips as they try to unseat Republicans — but not on Russia red. Meanwhile, a liberal billionaire outsider has built a massive organization intent on impeaching Trump.
NPR2 min read
Let's Bounce: Large Metal Balls Roll Out Of Truck, Shut Down Seattle Block
Tired of being cooped up in the back of a semi truck, dozens of what police said appear to be "just really big ball bearings," spilled onto a Seattle street, temporarily shutting it down.