T.S. Monk

Internationally acclaimed jazz drummer, composer, bandleader, and vocalist

T.S. Monk (a/k/a Thelonious Sphere Monk, III) is an internationally acclaimed jazz drummer, composer, bandleader, and vocalist. Lauded by critics and jazz fans alike as the true musical heir to his father, the legendary jazz composer and pianist Thelonious Monk, T.S. Monk has paved his own path to success, inspiring a new generation of jazz enthusiasts with his innovative and infectious music. As the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which was created to honor his father’s musical legacy, Monk has supported jazz education and brought an international spotlight to the music for nearly three decades. He was the driving force behind the Institute’s annual International Jazz Competition and many of its educational initiatives. Monk began playing the drums at 15. Five years later, in 1970, Monk joined his father’s quartet and toured with him until the elder Monk retired in 1975. In the 1970s, Monk went into R&B, touring with the group Natural Essence before forming the R&B group, T.S. Monk. They released three albums on Mirage Records. Their successful debut album, House of Music (1980) featured the international mega hit single, “Bon Bon Vie (Gimme the Good Life).” They subsequently released More of The Good Life (1981) and Human (1982). Monk returned to performing jazz in 1992, after an absence of several years, forming the T.S. Monk Sextet. The group released three successful CDs on Blue Note Records: Take One, which hit the top of the jazz charts, Changing of the Guard and the critically-acclaimed album, The Charm. The jazz sextet has performed at the White House, various festivals and concert halls, legendary jazz clubs and landmark institutions in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East including the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), Lincoln Center (New York, NY), Central Park (New York, NY), the JVC Jazz Festival (New York, NY), the North Sea Jazz Festival (Rotterdam, Netherlands), the Newport Jazz Festival (Newport, RI), Montreal Jazz Festival (Montreal, Canada), Toronto Jazz Festival (Toronto, Canada), the Nice Jazz Festival (Nice, France), the Umbria Jazz Festival (Umbria, Italy), Playboy Jazz Festival (Los Angeles, CA), ESSENCE Festival (New Orleans, LA), St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival (St. Lucia, Caribbean Island), Birdland (New York, NY), Yoshi’s (San Francisco, CA), Jazz at the Bistro (St. Louis, MO), Basin Street (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Catalina Jazz Club (Los Angeles, CA) and countless others venues. In 1997, to commemorate his father’s 80th birthday, Monk released Monk on Monk, an all-star tribute to his father’s extraordinary contributions to jazz. The critically-acclaimed album received the Record of the Year Award at the first annual New York Jazz Awards, and Downbeat magazine’s prestigious 63rd Annual Reader's Poll Award. He followed with Crosstalk (1999) and Higher Ground (2003). In 2012, Monk also collaborated with Herbie Hancock, UNESCO, the United Nations and the Monk Institute for the annual “International Jazz Day,” a gathering of jazz musicians from 196 different countries. Monk recently released an album with Belgian jazz accordionist, Rony Verbiest. The album, Verbiest Meets Monk: Father and Son is currently available internationally. In January 2015, Monk will release a contemporary rendition of his father’s classic, “Trinkle Tinkle.” Monk recorded part one of his first live CD, Ebony Moonbeams in New York City at Ginny’s Supper Club at Harlem’s Red Rooster. Part two of the recording will be completed in June 2015. He is also writing a book on his relationship with his father, which will be released in 2017. In 2017, there will be a year-long, global celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Thelonious Sphere Monk’s birthday and the 30th Anniversary of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. “Jazz is played in every country in the world, in every season of the year” says Monk. “It is the universal music language of the planet earth.”

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