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Video: Monk in Berlin, 1969

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Forty-eight years ago this month, pianist Thelonious Monk appeared at the Berliner Jazztage festival, which when translated means Berlin Jazz Days and now is known as JazzFest Berlin. On solo piano, Monk played four Duke Ellington songs—Satin Doll, Sophisticated Lady, Caravan and Solitude followed by his Crepuscule With Nellie. Then on Blues for Duke, Monk was joined on piano by Joe Turner, Hans Rettenbacher on bass and Stu Martin on drums. Interestingly, Turner recorded for MPS soon after this concert.

The concert was taped by German television. Camera close-ups give you an intimate look at Monk and his unusual fingering on the keyboard. If you're not a fan of Monk's music, you will be after you watch him on this video. Monk was a fascinating figure who created art on his own terms. Seeing Monk in action is often the best way to appreciate him.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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