[members-announce] "Following Monk" Festival at Duke

Susan Reeves susan at susanreeves.net
Sun Jul 29 15:26:11 EDT 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:          August 1, 2007
(Please note: Websites – www.dukeperformances.org and www.followingmonk.org – launch and tickets go on sale August 1.) 
GENERAL INFORMATION: Duke Performances 919.660.3357 or performances at duke.edu.  Ticket packages available.
Duke University in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will present an eighteen-event festival, taking place over six weeks, and celebrating the 90th birthday of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer/pianist Thelonious Monk.  FOLLOWING MONK – running September 15 through October 28, 2007 – offers three world premieres, numerous special concert events, commentary and master classes exploring the genius of the jazz legend. This series also includes the Following Monk Institute*, a four-day continuing education course offering guided tours of important sites of Monk’s childhood and family heritage in eastern North Carolina, with participation by Monk’s son, T.S. Monk, and other family members. Participants include: Kronos Quartet, Jason Moran, Paul Jeffrey, Hanks Jones and Charlie Haden, Henry Butler, Jerry Gonzales and Omar Sosa, Stanley Crouch, Charles Tolliver Orchestra, Johnny Griffin, Andy Bey, Randy Weston and Kenny Barron, Jessica Williams, Barry Harris and many more....

Monk in North Carolina: The History, The Place, The Music, with Special Guest T.S. Monk
A continuing education course based on two day-long guided bus trips and walking tours of Monk’s birthplace in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and the Newton Grove, North Carolina plantation where Monk’s father, Thelonious, Sr., and grandfather, Hinton Monk, were born.  Several Monk family members will present their extensive research on the family tree, tracing their ancestors back to the early 19th century.  Scholars and musicians, including Monk’s son T.S. Monk, discuss the personal, cultural, and musical relevance of Monk’s roots. The event will also include musical events and an exclusive presentation of sounds and images of Monk’s 1959 Town Hall rehearsals that took place in the loft of Hall Overton and photographer W. Eugene Smith. A complete itinerary and more information on the institute can be found at www.jazzloftproject.org.
“The series is a testimony to how the sound of a Carolina-born genius has been translated through time, space, and genre,” explains Aaron Greenwald, the new director of Duke Performances, who, in 2006, produced the NC Festival of the Book.  “Focusing on history, on tradition, on Monk and his music, this festival celebrates the deep roots of American art here in North Carolina.”
For the past year Greenwald and Sam Stephenson (the director of the Jazz Loft Project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke) have collaborated to put together an ambitious and historically significant festival staged at Duke.  The aim is to explore and celebrate the jazz prophet’s links to his native state.  
The most legendary musician in jazz history was born in 1917 in a dirt-road town in the plains of eastern North Carolina, all tobacco fields and warehouses, railroad yards and cotton mills.  The culture of his parents was steeped in the Piedmont blues and soul-stirring gospel.  “Monk blended the culture he inherited from his parents and ancestors, the most sophisticated New York jazz techniques, and a visionary genius all his own to create some of the most original art in American history,” says Stephenson.
“My father would be pleased to know this was happening in North Carolina today.  He was highly cognizant of his North Carolina background and I am certain, as a history buff, he would have appreciated the attention to his work and the region,” states T.S. Monk, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
Throughout the six-week festival, musicians, fans, historians, and students will follow Monk’s uncanny, visionary genius and unveil new work that reflects his influences:
• Monk’s son, T.S. Monk, the renowned drummer and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and other family members will participate in the Following Monk Institute, a four-day continuing education course that features a guided tour of Monk’s birthplace of Rocky Mount, N.C. and the Newton Grove plantation where his father and grandfather were born.
• The Kronos Quartet will unveil Mavericks / Monk: Kronos on Innovators, an evening of music devised especially for FOLLOWING MONK, featuring three world premiere arrangements of Round Midnight (commissioned by Duke Performances and the Center for Documentary Studies).
• Jazz icons Hank Jones and Charlie Haden will make a rare duo appearance to perform spirituals, hymns, and rural African-American folk tunes from their landmark 1995 album, Steal Away – music that Monk and his family knew well.
• Charles Tolliver will lead his acclaimed orchestra, featuring Stanley Cowell on piano, in a performance of Monk’s legendary 1959 Town Hall concert, using new arrangements commissioned by Duke Performances and the Center for Documentary Studies. Tolliver will transcribe Monk’s original concert using never-before-heard tapes of Monk’s rehearsals with composer/arranger Hall Overton, made in a New York loft by famed photographer W. Eugene Smith, currently being preserved, examined, and researched as part of the Jazz Loft Project at the Center for Documentary Studies.  
• Jason Moran will present the world premiere of IN MY MIND: Monk at Town Hall 1959, an ambitious evening-length multi-media performance for tentet commissioned by Duke Performances and the Center for Documentary Studies, Jazz at Symphony Center/Chicago, SFJAZZ, and Washington Performing Arts Society. IN MY MIND is based on W. Eugene Smith’s documentary work and Moran’s 2007 pilgrimage to Monk’s ancestral home in North Carolina.
• Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet Company and Robert Battle’s BATTLEWORKS Dance Company will each present programs that illuminate Monk’s impact on a whole generation of contemporary choreographers – Monk’s ingenious rhythms and silences made visible in dance.   
• Henry Butler, Jessica Williams, and Barry Harris will give intimate solo piano concerts, each illustrating a unique, personal and virtuosic angle of the Monk legacy. 
In addition to those above, Randy Weston, Kenny Barron, Andy Bey, Jerry Gonzalez, Omar Sosa, Stanley Crouch, Johnny Griffin, Paul Jeffrey, John Ore, Leroy Williams and Robin D.G. Kelley will come to Durham to present concerts and commentary as part of the festivities. 
FOLLOWING MONK is presented by Duke Performances, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, a nonprofit education organization, was founded in 1986 in memory of the legendary jazz pianist and composer.  The Institute fosters the next generation of jazz greats by offering the world’s most promising young musicians college-level training by America’s jazz masters, educating young people around the world about jazz through innovative public school initiatives, and presenting a wide range of programs that help to expand and perpetuate America’s indigenous musical art form.

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