Thelonius Monk

Thelonius Monk - Paris 1969

Thelonius Monk - Paris 1969

Well, of course Thelonious Monk was crazy. Of course he was. Until very recently, there was an aggravating tendency among historians and critics to write off his mental illness as run-of-the-mill eccentricity. “Ha! What a charmingly odd fellow! See how he dances around in a circle! See his strange hats! See how he doesn’t leave his apartment for years at a time!”

What ailed Monk seems completely obvious to us now, but it was mostly ignored while he was alive and playing. I’m not sure if it was because writing about such things was considered rude, or if the press of the time didn’t have the vocabulary to describe what most of us can now recognize as severe mental illness...