Of all the major jazz artists, Thelonious Monk was one of the most original musical thinkers--nonconformist, idiosyncratic, imaginative, eccentric--in a word, unique. In The Thelonious Monk Reader, Rob van der Bliek has brought together some of the most revealing pieces ever written on Monk, providing a full portrait of the musician and his impact on the jazz world. Here is a wealth of information that was previously scattered and difficult to locate, including a wide range of articles, profiles, reviews, interviews, liner notes, and music analyses. Ranging in date from 1947 to 1999, these 39 pieces feature the work of some of our best jazz critics, including Leonard Feather, Ira Gitler, Nat Hentoff, Andre Hodeir, Gunther Schuller, Martin Williams, and many others. The book spans Monk's childhood and early recordings with Blue Note and Prestige, his Riverside period and the critical recognition that followed the release of Brilliant Corners, and his fame and fortune during his Columbia years. Readers will find colorful descriptions of Monk's eccentric lifestyle as well as thoughtful commentary on his unorthodox piano technique, which was marked by off-center accents and idiosyncratic voicings, broken rhythms, alternately dense and stripped down chords, and creative use of silence. Rob van der Bliek also provides a general introduction and brief introductions to each piece as well as critical annotations that place the work in context. Controversial, often contradictory, and always engaging, these readings offer a complete view of the man, his music, and his time. The only such book on Monk's life and work, this volume will be "must reading" for jazz fans and scholars, musicians, music lovers, and readers with an interest in African-American culture.