November 27, 2008

Monk tribute concerts planned in NYC

Concerts are being planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Thelonious Monk's Town Hall gig in New York, in which his music was first played by a big band.

Monk died in 1982 at the age of 64.

Duke Performances and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University said it has scheduled Monk tribute concerts for Feb. 26-27, during Black History Month.

Renowned musicians Charles Tolliver and Jason Moran are to salute the music icon by creating their takes on the original concert, using never-before-heard recordings and images shot during rehearsals from the historic event by famous photographer W. Eugene Smith, who also lived in the Jazz Loft rehearsal building where Monk and his band practiced.

The public station WNYC Radio 93.9 FM and its Web site air are to air an exclusive live broadcast of the Feb. 26 concert, anchored by Evening Music host Terrance McKnight. The station is to tape the Feb. 27 concert for later broadcast.

Even though it was a daunting task working on this historic project, it gave me a great deal of pleasure while doing it, reliving and remembering how I absorbed Monk during my formative years and how and why I fell in love with what was to become my life's work (as) a jazz musician, Tolliver said in a statement.