From Publishers Weekly
This comprehensive study of the noted jazz pianist and composer is a revised edition of a book first published in Germany in 1987. It is divided into three sections: a biography of Monk (1917-1982); an examination of his pianistic and compositional style; and an exhaustive, annotated catalogue of his recordings. Monk, introverted and given to bouts of depression, had few interests other than music, and his biography does not make exciting reading. The meat of the book is in Fitterling's insightful analyses of his subject's distinctive pianistic sound, his personal style as an ensemble player and his talent as a composer. Fitterling continues his assessment of Monk's musical style in the catalogue, where he includes critical commentary for each entry. He also lists films and videos relating to Monk's life. Two appendices--a guide to the multitude of Monk recordings and a glossary of musical expressions--will be helpful to those new to Monk's work. Fitterling, who lives in Germany, is a jazz journalist as well as a jazz percussionist and vibe player. This is his first book. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker were pioneers in an original form of music called bebop that reclaimed jazz as a primarily African American form of cultural expression in the 1940s. Monk in particular, with his shades, goatee, and ever-changing array of unusual headgear, came to epitomize bopper cool. Even in his novel music, Monk's originality stood out. Unfortunately, emotional problems, run-ins with the law, and a reputation for unreliability derailed his career just as he was reaching his creative height, and he spent the last years of his life watching television. Fitterling, a jazz performer, producer, and journalist, has done a fine job in recounting the development of Monk's style, his contributions as a composer, and the influence of his music. But the reader interested in learning what made this complex and unique artist tick will be left wanting more. For music collections.?Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Fed., Curwensville, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.