Don’t Blame Me

Thelonious Monk

Denmark, 1966

Thelonious Monk performs a solo rendition of “Don’t Blame Me” at a concert in Denmark on April 17, 1966.

Although Monk’s playing was groundbreaking and experimental, the pianist clearly had an appreciation for jazz tradition. This is apparent in his mastery of stride style piano, a technique of solo piano performance pioneered by James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, and other New York pianists of the ’20s and ’30s.

“Don’t Blame Me” was written by Jimmy McHughes and Dorothy Fields in 1932. The tune was a hit for singer and pianist Nat King Cole, who recorded a version in 1948. The song also appears on Yusef Lateef’s landmark LP Eastern Sounds.