Friday, February 19, 2010

Thelonious Monk in Weehawken

Thelonious Monk spent his final years in Weehawken, New Jersey, living in the house of his friend Pannonica de Koenigswarter. He took an occasional walk in the neighborhood and a very occasional trip into the city. But most of the time he was lying in bed like Brian Wilson did:

His daily routine rarely varied. He would wake up, shower, don some of his finest threads only to lie back in bed to nap, stare at the ceiling, or watch TV — he developed a fondness for game shows like The Price Is Right.

Robin D.G. Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (New York: Free Press, 2009), 443.
Kelley’s biography is an exhaustive trek through the itinerary of Monk’s life as a performing musician. At times Monk gets lost in the blur of dates, place names, and changes in personnel. But Kelley offers genuine revelations — about Monk’s family life, his familiarity with the classical piano repertoire, his interest in getting a hit (“Ruby, My Dear” was one such effort), and the craven practices of the record business.

[“Lying in bed like Brian Wilson did”: from the Barenaked Ladies song “Brian Wilson.”]

comments: 0