90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Thelonious Monk's Jazz Legacy
Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk performs at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I. on July 5, 1963. (AP Photo)

Thelonious Monk performs at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I., on July 5, 1963. (AP Photo)

Jazz great Thelonious Monk had a genius for unusual and daring composition, for confounding and delighting the world. He did things with rhythm, melody and chords that had never quite been heard before.

Hip America swooned for his music and for his myth: the mystical, elusive “George Washington of bebop.” From the 1940s to the 1970s and beyond, the myth of Monk nearly overshadowed the man. But his music rolls on.

A new biography from Robin Kelley tells the story of the music and the man — of Coltrane and Chopin and genius and Monk.

This hour, On Point: a deep new look at the great jazzman Thelonious Monk.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Robin Kelley joins us from Los Angeles. Professor of history and American Studies at the University of Southern California, he’s the author of the new biography “Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original.” You can read an excerpt here.

And from New York we’re joined by Matthew Shipp, jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader. His previous albums include “One,” “Harmony and Abyss,” and “Equilibrium.” His forthcoming album, available this January, is “4d.” You can hear him playing and talking about piano jazz at NPR.org.

Here’s a list of the Monk songs featured during the hour:

“Blue Sphere”
“Introspection”
“‘Round Midnight”
“Evidence”
“Trinkle, Tinkle”
“Brilliant Corners”
“In Walked Bud”
“This is My Story, This is My Song”
“Jackie-Ing”
“Well, You Needn’t”

More links:

In this clip from the documentary “Straight No Chaser,” you can see Monk’s famous “dance” during a performance:

And here’s Monk playing his renowned composition “‘Round Midnight” in Norway in 1966:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 26, 2015
Humanist chaplain Bart Campolo, center, a former Evangelical Christian youth minister, and his wife, Marty, right, mingle with students as they wait for the start of a forum at the University of Southern California, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP)

More Americans are turning away from religion. We’ll look at how to live a moral life without it.

 
Feb 26, 2015
This Feb. 20, 2015 photo shows an arrangement of peanuts in New York. (AP)

New breakthroughs on peanut allergies – treatment and prevention. And a question: are we too clean for our own good? Plus: did giant gerbils from Asia really bring the bubonic plague to Europe?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment
 
Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February
Friday, Feb 20, 2015

We explain what happened with the old podcast feed this week and last, share some other Oscar categories and reminisce about the golden days of Double Rainbows and Honey Badgers who just don’t care.

More »
Comment