i love watching performances of the jazz greats on youtube and such..with pianists,often with say a Bill Evans or a Wynton Kelly it`s so graceful the way their fingers dance on the keys..then you see Monk and it looks like somebody just introduced a silver back gorilla to a piano. but somehow even more captivating than watching anybody else play any instrument.
BTW, following up on my last: if your German is up to par and wanna know more, read that book 'Thelonious Monk und der Free Jazz' by Jurgen Arendt. It considers the heavy influence of his revolutionary style of playing and composing on famous founding free jazz artists and also shows how he directly influenced their music by playing with them.
@GoatUser: Monk's songs obviously aren't free jazz by any stretch of the imagination, but his playing style is. That's why people tag it that way, even if it's wrong. Still, without Monk having exposed jazz to his way of playing, Free Jazz would have sounded a lot different. He inspired and/or played with all the major artists that shaped that style of jazz.
It is VERY wrong... Free Jazz has uncommon or (more commonly) no structure; Monk's structures have become so widely known that half of his tracks are standards by now. A standard is like the very antithesis of Free Jazz.
People hear somebody play weird free sounding sounds, they thinkin: "that's free jazz right there." Can't blame em for that. Jazz is always free, that's the beauty of it. That's what makes it appealing.
Man, I could understand a jazz newbie tagging this stuff as Free Jazz having no real idea of what that actually is, and I mean he had his harsher moments, but how did it get popular enough to get to the fifth most used tag? I'm pretty damn fuckin' sure not even a single track he ever made in his life was free jazz.