The jazz pianist Thelonious Monk's highly idiosyncratic instrumental technique has long been a topic of controversy. Examination of competing views sheds light on the circumstances under which Monk's detractors have accused him of incompetence, whereas his devotees have generally argued either that he was proficient in a conventional sense or that his pianistic imperfections were irrelevant to his music's intellectual content.
New perspectives on Monk's pianism may be sought through the analysis of concert films that document his playing in close detail. The films indicate that sometimes Monk intentionally created technical hurdles for himself in order to imbue his playing with a degree of expressive tension.
- ©© 2009 by The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.