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In walked Thelonious: 'Monk at 91'

October 9, 2008 |  4:22 pm

Thelonious Monk If Thelonious Monk had stuck around for a metaphorical third set, he'd be 91 this month. Monk walked onto the scene at 19, settling behind the piano with the house band at Harlem's Minton's Playhouse in the early '40s and started fiddling with jazz's molecular structure, altering it forever.

Monk's compositions (and his approach to them) --angular, intricate and shot through with humor --were marked by twists of whimsy and dissonance. Those distinct, abstract soundings became an intrinsic part of the jazz idiom making Monk -- along with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker -- one of bebop's key architects.   

Honoring his influence (and part of a countdown to Monk's 100th birthday), a free three-hour marathon of his music (and the music and musicians he influenced) -- "Monk at 91: Fazioli Piano Marathon" -- will take place in downtown L.A. on Friday, Oct. 17, from noon to 3 p.m. Participants scheduled: Geri Allen, Jean-Michel Pilc, Bill Cunliffe and Alan Broadbent. The event is a collaboration between Brookfield Properties and the city of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. 

That's "Monk at 91: Fazioli Piano Marathon," Oct. 17, at Ernst & Young Plaza at 7+Fig , 735 Figueroa St., upper plaza. For more info: (213) 955-7150.

-- Lynell George

Photo: Thelonious Monk at Minton's Playhouse, New York City, 1949. Credit: Herman Leonard