Chapter

Monk and Avant-Garde Positions

Gabriel Solis

in Monk's Music

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780520252004
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940963 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520252004.003.0008
Monk and Avant-Garde Positions

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The term avant-garde implies a particular relationship to harmony, rhythm, timbre, and other musical parameters. This chapter deals specifically with the ways Monk has been significant to contemporary avant-garde jazz. Monk's music provides a context in which it is easier to hear a range of musical meaning. There is reverence, humor, irony, and pure, unadulterated joy. It is centrally important, when looking at avant-garde performances of Monk's music, as much as at neo-bop performances, to note that in addition to representing particular musical challenges, the pieces represent cultural or social meanings. Avant-gardists have often used Monk as lesson from the past, positing a reconceptualization of the last thirty years or so of jazz history to suggest that they, rather than the institutional mainstream, should be seen as the real keepers of jazz's core traditions.

Keywords: avant-garde; Monk; jazz; neo-bop performances; mainstream

Chapter.  9770 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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