Here is the onliest Thelonious.
Thelonious Monk, “Epistrophy,” live (TV broadcast), Paris, 1966
Thelonoius Monk, “’Round Midnight,” live (TV broadcast)
You can tell a lot about Monk’s music—about the centrality of dance, about the interplay between melody and rhythm, about the way a melody’s irregular accents override the pulse (making the dance melodic)—just by watching, in the second performance, the way his right foot moves.
He played each note as though astonished by the previous one, as though every touch of his fingers on the keyboard was correcting an error and this touch in turn became an error to be corrected and so the tune never quite ended up the way it was meant to be.
You had to see Monk to hear his music properly. The most important instrument in the group—whatever the format—was his body.
—Geoff Dyer, But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz (1996)