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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - scperryz - LibraryThing

Extremely thorough and comprehensive, at times painfully so. I love Monk but struggled through details of every member of every band during every month of his adult life. Nonetheless and sometimes in ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - richardderus - LibraryThing

I wish I'd never read this book. I now don't like Thelonious Monk, who comes across in these pages as a self-centered snot whose mental illness could and should have been medicated to ameliorate its ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I thought I knew quite a bit about Thelonius and his music but after reading this book I realized that there was a lot I didn't know not only about him but about his family, friends and the musicians he worked with. Each chapter covers specific years in his life and career and is delivered in chronological order. The book details all his performances and recording dates and the author does a nice job showing how Monk rehearsed, tutored and introduced new band members to his music. One of the things unfortunately that Monk came to be know for was his perceived eccentricities and the book shows that of those things that actually occurred the source of this came mostly from his struggle with a bi-polar disorder that went undiagnosed for most of his life.
There is one aspect of the book that I think distracts from an otherwise good accounting of everything you wanted to know about Thelonius Monk and his music. The author continually tries to connect Monk’s motivations, emotions and thoughts with many of the tragic events of the 60s surrounding the civil rights movement . No doubt Monk was more than mildly troubled by the events as many of us were but the recorded quotes and answer to interview questions belies any specific concerns on his part.. In fact what comes through loud and clear is that Monk was primarily concerned with providing for his family and civil rights issues though important were not foremost in his mind.
If you want to learn about Monk and the jazz world of his time I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
 

Review: Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

User Review  - Rob Charpentier - Goodreads

In many ways this is an absolutely great book, while in another sense it actually fails so badly that I hesitate to review it at all. Strangely, its saving graces are also precisely the exact same ... Read full review

Review: Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

User Review  - Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways - Goodreads

Rating: 3* of five I wish I'd never read this book. I now don't like Thelonious Monk, who comes across in these pages as a self-centered snot whose mental illness could and should have been medicated ... Read full review

Review: Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

User Review  - Matt - Goodreads

Hard to rate -- if I'm going on exhaustive research and attention to detail, I'd give it 5 stars. It reads a little slow and tends to get into a play by play of "how the shows went over" a bit too ... Read full review

Review: Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

User Review  - Djll - Goodreads

Monk's neighborhood in 30's NYC is a lively place where all the women are beautiful, all the men are accomplished, and all the children are WAY above average. At least, that's how Robin DG Kelley ... Read full review

Review: Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

User Review  - keith koenigsberg - Goodreads

This Monk biography is more compendious than the other couple I have read, but not necessarily more illuminating or entertaining. Kelley provides a lot of detail but is not much of a storyteller ... Read full review

Review: Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

User Review  - Lydell - Goodreads

For me, the biography is strictly for die-hard Monk fans. Yet, it maybe one of the best jazz biographies to capture in great detail the business environment in which a professional jazz musician had ... Read full review

Review: Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

User Review  - Margaret - Goodreads

I was really excited to read this book--heard that it was coming out a while ago and was probably the first person to check it out of the library--but ultimately I'm a little disappointed. Nonetheless ... Read full review


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