Thelonious Monk, The Life and Times of an American Original, Robin D.G. Kelley

You can tell it took 14 years to finish: this is the single most detailed biography/ recounting of a jazz figure’s life I can imagine. And I can imagine a lot.

It took me a year (original purchase date: 1/30/10) to finish this, but it has (seriously, there’s no way it can’t) absolutely every detail you could want about Monk’s life, during virtually every second of it. Kelley interviewed EVERYONE connected to Monk who’s still alive.

And it’s a biography, not an analysis of Monk’s playing (though that’s in here too, as Kelley is a pianist), but it’s still a page-turner (all 588 pages of this door stop).

Give it a shot.

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