Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917 – 1982) is arguably the most important avant garde artist in the history of music and also one of its most under-recognized. He made pioneering contributions to modern culture as a composer and pianist and was admired as a sire among early bop musicians in the 1940s.
Born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and raised up in Harlem, New York, he dropped out of the Peter Stuyvesant School to pursue music at the age of 15. Offering a deconstruction of sound and performance art in his metaphysical compositions and concerts. His work exhibited tonal freedom, offered a redefinition of harmony, and contained silent references to the full tradition of western composition and a post-modern glimpse of the way forward. He was a major influence on Jay Dilla. His wife referred to him as “Melodious Thunk.”