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Mondo Monk

Thelonious MonkLast week I was working on the Night Lights schedule for the rest of the year and ran into what I thought might be a bit of a snag. Show topics are usually plotted well into the future (right now we have programs slated through the end of February 2008), but I’d realized that a certain sequence was going to bring a lot of Thelonious Monk listeners’ way for several weeks in a row. Well, far worse things could happen, right? And the 90th anniversary of his birth is coming up (hence the October 6 show, “Side Monk,” which will feature the handful of recorded musical settings in which Monk was not–technically, at least–the leader).

Anyway, I’m small potatoes–Duke University is hosting a six-week-long Monk fest in honor of that upcoming 90th-birthday milestone. Randy Weston, Barry Harris, Johnny Griffin, and the Kronos Quartet are among the featured performers… and then there’s this (albeit a more tenuous link to Monk):

Sunday • 9/30/07, 7 pm • Reynolds Industries Theater
Exclusive Concert Event: Charlie Haden & Hank Jones
Steal Away: Spirituals, Hymns, and Folk Songs
A rare performance of Jones’ and Haden’s landmark 1995 album Steal Away, Haden and Jones
present music that would have been familiar to Monk and his kin in eastern North Carolina.

Robin D.G. Kelley, Monk biographer-in-progress, will be giving a talk as well. (Hopefully we’ll get an update of when to expect to the book.) Sounds as if Duke is doing right by the high priest of modern jazz… on a lighter note, our local student newspaper once erroneously referred to him as “Felonious Monk.” You know, that gangsta-rap guy! In the meantime, you can check out our previous Monk-and-Sonny-Rollins program.

David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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