Thelonious Sphere Monk
Received posthumous Pulitzer Prize
Monk died of a stroke in Englewood, New Jersey
Made last studio recordings as a band leader for Black Lion in the UK
Signed with Columbia Records
Began six-month stint with John Coltrane at Five Spot Café
Signed with Riverside Records and released Brilliant Corners
First sessions with Coleman Hawkins Quartet
Began recording for Blue Note until 1952
Recorded earliest version of "'Round Midnight" with the Cootie Williams Orchestra
When he and Bud Powell were detained for narcotics in 1951, Monk refused to testify against his friend, which caused the loss of his cabaret card and significant income from playing live in New York City.
According to apocrypha, Monk and Miles Davis almost came to blows over the pianist's offbeat style during a Christmas Eve recording session in 1954. Davis would later dismiss the stories as a misunderstanding between the two men.
Monk toured with an all-star group, the Giants of Jazz, that featured Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie and bassist Al McKibbon, in 1971. McKibbon would later claim that Monk was often unable to play and spoke almost no words to him or other members of the group during the tour until it concluded. McKibbon said that he later recevied word from Monk that the reason he remained silent was because he and Blakey were "so ugly."
Monk's eclectic nature extended to his fashion sense, which was highlighted by a beret, suit and dark glasses. According to pianist Mary Lou Williams, these soon became standard issue dress for other jazz musicians, even those who dismissed his playing talents.
Monk was known to stand up and dance along with the band during performances.