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100 Years Of Thelonious Monk

This year marks what would have been the 100th birthday of jazz legend Thelonious Monk. 

Monk was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in 1917 and moved a few years later to New York City, where he grew up playing the piano and church organ. Eventually Monk landed a spot as house pianist at a Manhattan nightclub where he began developing a unique style that would later be cited as the genesis of bebop.

With his flat-fingered performance style, dissonant chords, and nontraditional rhythms, Monk is credited with composing some of the most distinct music of the 20th century. To celebrate the life of the avant-garde musician, Duke Performances is hosting a 10-day jazz showcase, Monk@100, that features a range of modern jazz legends playing Monk’s compositions.

Host Frank Stasio talks with three of the participants: jazz pianist Kris Davis, saxophonist JD Allen, and pianist, composer and music critic Ethan Iverson. Iverson will perform on Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. at the Durham Fruit & Produce Company, a warehouse space for the arts in downtown Durham. The festival runs through Thursday, Oct. 26.  

Take a listen to one of our Monk favorites, 'Green Chimneys':

Xernay (JerN-eye) Aniwar is a graduate of Elon University, where she studied strategic communications and psychology.
Laura Pellicer is a digital producer with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.