Monk plays Duke in 1969
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In 1955, Thelonious Monk recorded a classic album in which he performed fresh variations on Duke Ellington songs.
At the 1969 Berlin Jazztage, as part of a celebration of Duke Ellington’s 70th birthday, Monk was persuaded to perform a solo set of Ellington songs.
This was quite rare since Monk very rarely played an entire set of someone else’s songs, but he was not only a great admirer of Ellington but a bit influenced by Duke’s piano style.
Thelonious Monk’s relaxed stride piano version of “Satin Doll” is typically unique, with his own chord voicings and ideas, paying tribute to Ellington while being himself.
– Scott Yanow