This Day in Black History: Feb. 17, 1982

Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk died at age 64.

Posted: 02/17/2013 08:30 AM EST

Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious S. Monk is considered one of the genre's most important musicians. The New York native began studying the piano as a young boy and by the tender age of 13 was prohibited from entering the Apollo Theater's weekly amateur contest because he'd won it so many times. 

As a young adult, Monk joined the house band at Minton Playhouse, where he developed his bebop style. In the course of his career, he recorded with other jazz greats, including Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins. His Thelonious Monk Quartet included John Coltrane. In 1964, he became one of just four musicians to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.

Monk's most famous songs include "Round Midnight," "Brilliant Corners," "Pannonica" and "Straight, No Chaser," which also is the title of a documentary of his life and career.

He died on Feb. 17, 1982, at age 64.

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  (Photo: Erich Auerbach/Getty Images)

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