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Thelonious Sphere Monk: He’s one of those postwar jazz mavericks with a funny name; he wore funny hats and communicated in an eccentric language; and he developed a revolutionary piano style. That’s what average music fans know. They may not be aware that Monk grew up right around the present Jazz at Lincoln Center edifice in San Juan Hill, so it’s fitting that the organization will be celebrating the “High Priest of Bebop” with a full-weekend Monk Festival. The program includes the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, a slew of special guests including Marcus Roberts, Courtney Vance, historian Sam Stephenson, and the Danilo Pérez Trio. If you’ve always been curious about those mysterious sonic wizards displaced by the rise of rock, here’s a good site to wade in and get your Monk on.
Nov. 20-25, 2008