T.S. Monk: Drummer and Son of Late Jazz Great Carves His Own Musical Path


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Theres a simple but often forgotten message that drummer T.S. Monk, son of legendary jazz artist Thelonious Monk, will be spreading to students when he comes to Northeast Ohio to participate in the Lakeland Jazz Festival, which takes place Thursday through Saturday at the Lakeland Performing Arts Center at the college in Kirtland.

“Play your own stuff," said Monk, calling from Orange, N.J. “You are not supposed to have the sound of the same person next to you. This is a fundamental philosophy of jazz. When I was growing up in the house with Max Roach and Art Blakey and Miles Davis--all of these cats coming through the house all of the time--that was a mantra. Play your own stuff. So the philosophy of self is fundamental, foundational to the creation of a great jazz musician, although it's not taught in the schools."

This rule of thumb, about which Monk feels so strongly, will be on display for students attending T.S. Monk's musical clinic at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Lakeland or for jazz heads watching the T.S. Monk Sextet show at 8 p.m.

For the past quarter of a century, Monk has taken on the role of jazz ambassador.

He continues the legacy of his father's music both as a performer and as an educator by chairing the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute, which has become one of the premier schools in the country for aspiring jazz musicians.

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