T.S. Monk

Although it took him a while before he decided to dedicate himself to playing jazz, T.S. Monk (Thelonious Monk, Jr.) has already accomplished a lot. He started out playing trumpet and piano before switching to drums when he was 13, taking some lessons from Max Roach. His first public performance was with his father, Thelonious Monk, on a television show in 1970. He toured with his father's quartet during 1970-1971 and then played with the fusion band Natural Essence, the Paul Jeffrey Big Band, and had an R&B group called T.S. Monk that had a few hits. In 1986, he established the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, an organization that not only celebrates Monk Sr.'s music but has an annual competition that has resulted in fame for some of its winners. His work with the institute inspired the drummer to return to jazz. He played in Clifford Jordan's big band and with Walter Davis before putting together his own sextet, which has had stable personnel since the late '80s. Monk's group often performs obscure jazz originals from the 1960s hard bop era with accurate transcriptions contributed by its trumpeter/arranger Don Sickler. Monk himself is an excellent drummer who sounds a little reminiscent of Tony Williams.
Scott Yanow, Rovi

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