A tour-de-force by the acclaimed jazz pianist Laurent de Wilde, Monk is a personal, anecdotal biography of one of the greatest, most controversial pianists/composers in modern music. Laurent has captured the everydayness of Monk, his bearing, his eccentricities, his stubbornness and isolation, and the narrow circle of women around him. Laurent writes of Monk's distinctive fingering, of his producers, engineers and agents, of money and tours, of the importance of the rhythm section, of saxophones, drugs, and Pannonica, of Nellie, and of madness.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
De Wilde is a well-regarded jazz pianist, so a volume by him on Thelonious Monk (191882) ought to be worth reading. This one, however, is a disappointment. Monk's career effectively spanned 25 years, during which time he was closely associated with his hometown of New York City. He was one of the seminal figures in bebop, part of the select group that jammed late nights at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, although he didn't develop the ecstatic following of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Indeed, as de Wilde notes, Monk's major career breakthrough came when the pianist was 40. For many musicians (and even more critics), Monk's playing and writing styles, with their odd intervals and out-of-kilter rhythms, were just too weird. When he finally found an audience, those idiosyncrasies became talismans for the faithful. But with fame came withdrawal, ill health, and silence. When Monk died in 1982, it had been six years since his last public performance, and even longer since he had been in the recording studio. In the second Monk biography this season (see Leslie Gourse's Straight, No Chaser, p. 1356), de Wilde traces the musician's career trajectory, his relations with his four main record labels, and his various sidemen in a generally perfunctory manner. He has some interesting observations on the importance of a sympathetic producer, pointing to the Riverside label's Orrin Keepnews as the Platonic ideal in Monk's career. And as a musician, he does have some insights into the agonizing grind of being on the road. But the book is written in a hideously hip style that is either a Frenchman's idea of jazz argot or a translator's mistake. More seriously, there is almost nothing here about Monk's family life, either as a boy or as a husband and father. And de Wilde has little to say about the music. What he does have is a lot of half-digested and often inaccurate ideas about American racial, political, and jazz history. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Descripción Da Capo Press, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M1569247765
Descripción Da Capo Press, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P111569247765
Descripción Estado de conservación: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Nº de ref. de la librería 97815692477611.0