Thelonious Sphere Monk (October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer considered "one of the giants of American music". Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "Epistrophy", "'Round Midnight", "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser" and "Well, You Needn't". Monk is the second most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed over 1,000 songs while Monk wrote about 70.
Often regarded as a founder of bebop, Monk's playing later evolved away from that style. His compositions and improvisations are full of dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk's unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations.
Monk's manner was idiosyncratic. Visually, he was renowned for his distinctive style in suits, hats and sunglasses. He was also noted for the fact that at times, while the other musicians in the band continued playing, he would stop, stand up from the keyboard and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano. One of his regular dances consisted of continuously turning clockwise, which has drawn comparisons to ring-shout and Sufi whirling.
He is one of five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of Time (the other four being Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, and Dave Brubeck) as of 2010.Chucho Valdés (born Jesús Dionisio Valdés in Quivicán, Cuba, October 9, 1941) is a Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger. In 1972 he founded the group Irakere, one of Cuba's best-known Latin jazz bands. Together with pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Valdés is revered as one of Cuba's greatest jazz pianists. His father is the famed Cuban pianist and former director of Havana's famous "Tropicana" night club band Bebo Valdés.
Chucho has won four Grammy awards: in 1978 for the album Live at Newport by Irakere; in 1998 for his contribution to the CD Havana by his band Crisol (formed in 1997), with two songs Mr. Bruce and Mambo para Roy written by Chucho; in 2003 for his album Live at the Village Vanguard; and in 2011 for his album Chucho's Steps.
On 16 October 2006, Chucho Valdés was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In 2008 Sony released an album of Chucho playing with his father Bebo Valdés.Chucho's son, Chuchito, is also a jazz pianist.
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