The Onliest Monk — Happy 101st!

Here’s a belated birthday toast to Thelonious Monk, who was born Oct. 10, 1917. Monk’s music, in its brilliance, quirkiness, humor and rootsy jazz soulfulness, remains an inspiration.

Hard to believe that it’s been 22 years since I helmed a Monk tribute disc, “Monk in the Sun,” featuring a long list of Tampa Bay area-based artists. I’ll forever be grateful to bass guitar wizard Jeff Berlin, and the late, great Nat Adderley and Kenny Drew, Jr., along with many other terrific but lesser known artists, for participating in the project. And to Tom Morris at the old Morrisound studio for their support.

Monk in the Sun

We received some local airplay, on WUSF, 89.7 FM, and WMNF, 88.5 FM and sold some CDs locally (but not enough to cover what we — me and Ronny Elliott — paid to make the project a reality).

I always wondered what impact it might have had if we had been able to make a larger promotional effort, particularly in terms of seeking national radio airplay. I suppose it could be reissued, at least as a digital download. But dealing with all the permissions, etc, from musicians, and all the copyright issues feels daunting. And it would take $$$$. Would it be worthwhile?


“After Midnight: Thelonious Monk at 100” (Tom Vitale, NPR, 2017)

“At 100, Thelonious Monk Gets a Hero’s Celebration” (Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, 2017)

“Celebrating 100 Years of Thelonious Monk” (Paste magazine, 2017)


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