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Thelonious Monk at Town Hall

On February 26th and 27th, WNYC joins Duke Performances and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke for two special concerts commemorating the 50th anniversary of Thelonious Monk’s historic 1959 Town Hall performance. WNYC will broadcast the February 26th concert live during Evening Music on 93.9 FM. The February 27th concert will be taped for future broadcast.

Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall, 1959: The Story

One night in late February 1959, Thelonious Monk took a tentet to Town Hall in New York City. No one had heard Monk’s music played by a big band before. The anticipation was great. For several weeks leading up to that event, Monk and his collaborator Hall Overton, and then the entire band, toiled away arranging and rehearsing the music in a dilapidated loft building at 821 Sixth Avenue (between 28th and 29th Streets). Loft resident and renowned photojournalist, W. Eugene Smith, photographed and recorded Monk and Overton as they worked.

Now, bandleaders Charles Tolliver and Jason Moran have drawn upon the photographs and recordings that came out of the loft to inform their individual interpretations of Monk’s fabled night at Town Hall in two unique anniversary concerts to be given at Town Hall, 50 years later.

More information on W. Eugene Smith, his loft and the upcoming JazzLoft radio project on WNYC

Charles Tolliver Orchestra
Monk@TownHall, 1959
Date: (Thu), Feb 26, 2009 @ 8 pm
Broadcast live on 93.9 FM

Charles Tolliver celebrates the 50th anniversary of Thelonious Monk's seminal 1959 orchestra performance at Town Hall. A self-taught trumpet wizard and virtuoso arranger, Tolliver attended Monk’s 1959 Town Hall show as a teenager and has kept faith with the African American rhythms, large sounds, and group dynamics of Monk’s orchestral form. The concert is a rare opportunity to experience this storied section of the Monk catalogue start-to-finish featuring jazz stalwarts Stanley Cowell (piano), Rufus Reid (bass) and Gene Jackson (drums).

Ticket Price: $60, 40 & 25
On sale now at Ticketmaster
Or charge by phone (212) 307-4100

Jason Moran and the Big Bandwagon
IN MY MIND: Monk@Town Hall, 1959
Date: (Fri), Feb 27, 2009 @ 8 pm

Prodigy pianist, composer and heir to the Monk tradition, Jason Moran presents the New York premiere of "IN MY MIND: Monk @ Town Hall, 1959", an evening-length concert and media-collage. The event features Moran on piano leading the Big Bandwagon, an eight-piece ensemble.

Ticket Price: $60, 40 & 25
On sale now at Ticketmaster
Or charge by phone (212) 307-4100

For additional information please visit:

The concerts are produced by Aaron Greenwald/Duke Performances and the Center for Documentary Studies in cooperation with WNYC.