Most jazz fans have heard of her, whether they realize it or not. The Baroness Pannonica Rothchild was immortalized in musical tributes composed by the likes of Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Tommy Flanagin, Kenny Drew and John Hendricks. Yet for Nica, Monk was unquestionably the first among equals. She was first introduced to Monk’s music and was powerfully moved by Round Midnight. It would be two years until they actually met launching a lasting friendship after a concert in Paris. They remained the closet of of friends, soul mates. Both Monk’s wife and Pannonica’s husband said their friendship was unlike anything they had ever seen before and that the two of them were brother and sister seperated at birth. Their friendship is documented in the Film The Jazz Baroness. It’s an documentary on HBO you should check it out.
Bookmark this video for later if you don’t have the 1hr 21. This documentary is to Salute the birthday of the great Thelonious Monk and his life long friend Hannah Rothschild . One of the heirs to the billion dollar Rothschild throne; she ventured away from the aristocracy life in London to become a patron of Jazz’s elite. This documentary is less about Jazz and money and more on the power of true friendship based on a mutual love and respect for the music. I reccomend this to everyone who is a fan of Jazz, history, and great documentaries.
Side note this was produced by Hannahs niece who didn’t know her Aunt existed because she was an outcast of the family. Upon meeting her in 1980, her Aunt and her became great friends until her death in 1984. I hope you enjoy. Happy Birthday Mr. Monk.
A ‘Cruella de Vil-esque’ bluesy reference to NYC’s Bolivar hotel, at which ‘The Baroness of Jazz’ Pannonica de Koenigswarter regularly hosted Jazz musicians, including the likes of Charlie Parker, Gigi Gryce, Tommy Flanagan, Horace Silver and of course Monk himself.
I particularly like the ~40 seconds of solid triplet crotchets starting at 4:17 - definitely something only the likes of Monk would have dared at the time.