“The Monk” is a concert dedicated to the great pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. It was born from the creative encounter between the singer Giulia Lorenzoni and the pianist Tobias Nicoletti, who together wrote the script and arranged the songs.
The concert lasts about 60 minutes and is an alternation of short recited monologues and pieces by Thelonious Monk.
The concept aims to introduce Thelonious Monk and his music to today’s audience in an introspective key.
On November 16th the debut show took place at the Load District. On this occasion the live albumentitled “The Monk” was recorded, now available on all digital stores.
The show is inspired by the book “Mr Thelonious Monk” by Giulia Lorenzoni.
The writing of the book “The Monk” required years of in-depth studies drawing on exclusive sources under the guidance of the jazz historian Adriano Mazzoletti.
I have personally met Thelonious Monk only once and when Giulia Lorenzoni made me read this extraordinary “autobiography” of one of the most brilliant musicians that jazz has ever had, that encounter came back to my mind. It was 1961, Monk was on tour in Italy with his quartet which included Charlie Rouse, Johnny Ore and Frankie Dunlop sharing the stage with an equally extraordinary trio, that of Bud Powell with Art Taylor and the French Jacques Hess. After playing in Milan on April 21st, in Bologna on the 22nd, the two major post-war pianists arrived in Rome on the 23rd. That short tour was an historic event, not only for the unique opportunity to listen to them in the same concert, but because everyone knew that such an event would’ve never happened again, considering also the difficult personalities of the two characters. After the concert they all went to the Shaker the only club in Rome dedicated to jazz. Who stayed the longest was Monk. I took it upon myself to drive him in my car, hoping to get a chance to talk to him. I had an infinite amount of things to ask him. In the more than two hours that we sat next to each other on a sofa, Monk didn’t say a word despite my useless attempts. He didn’t say a word, remaining almost motionless and drinking only a few soft drinks. Around two in the morning, I understood, from his glance, that he wanted to go back to the hotel. In the hotel lobby, when it was time to say goodbye, he finally spoke. He thanked me warmly – and he seemed absolutely honest – for the wonderful evening we spent together.
Certainly others have had better luck and some statements that Monk made during his intense but not long life are reported in specialized magazines and in various biographies. He died at the age of 64 in 1982. When Giulia Lorenzoni, whom I was lucky enough to have as a student in the “Social History of Jazz” courses, told me that she would have liked to write a biography about Monk, whose admiration for this genius appears in great evidence in this work of hers, I dissuaded her from doing it because different biographies of Thelonious Monk have already been written, from that by Robert Kelley to others by Laurent de Weille, Yves Duin, Jacques Ponzio and François Postif. I therefore suggested that she think of an “autobiography” obviously “unauthorized” and Giulia accepted the challenge which was certainly not easy. Well, Giulia Lorenzoni, a young musician, an actress of great ability, has also turned out to be a writer of considerable talent. She managed to get Monk to talk, without having known him, when I, who had him by my side for over two hours, had not succeeded. The story of his life that Monk “told” Giulia Lorenzoni can be read with great satisfaction in this book.