One night in late February 1959, Thelonious Monk took a tentet to Town Hall in New York City for a historic concert. 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).
Through photographs and audio recordings, loft resident and legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith documented Monk and Overton working to arrange and rehearse the Town Hall concert. Using Smith's images and recordings, Charles Tolliver and Jason Moran celebrate this legendary performance with their own original takes, once again at Town Hall in New York City, 50 years later.
February 26, 2009: Grammy-nominee, virtuoso arranger and dynamo band leader, Charles Tolliver celebrates the 50th anniversary of Thelonious Monk's seminal 1959 orchestra performance at Town Hall. Conducting a tentet featuring jazz stalwarts Stanley Cowell (piano), Rufus Reid (bass) and Victor Lewis (drums), this concert is a rare opportunity to experience this storied section of the Monk catalogue start-to-finish.
February 27, 2009: Prodigy pianist, gifted 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. Featuring Moran on piano leading the Big Bandwagon, an eight-piece ensemble.
Visit the Thelonious Monk at Town Hall: The 50th Anniversary website: