September 29, 2007


Thelonious Sphere Monk, one of the greatest pianists, composers and band-leaders of the twentieth century, was born on October 10, 1917, which means that he would have turned ninety this year. Monk died in 1982.

On Wednesday October 10, CKCU 93.1 will be celebrating the ninetieth birthday of Thelonious Monk with four hours of his music, between 8:00pm until ‘round midnight.

From 8:00 to 9:00 pm, on his show “Roots & Rhythms”, Bruce Walton will play recordings made by Monk on the Prestige, Riverside and Columbia labels between 1954 and 1964, with Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Oscar Pettiford, Charlie Rouse, and Coleman Hawkins.

From 9:00 to 11:00pm, “In A Mellow Tone” host Ron Sweetman will feature Monk’s
earliest studio recordings, made for the Blue Note label between October 1947 and May 1952 with sidemen Art Blakey, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, Milt Jackson, Al McKibbon,
Gene Ramey, Max Roach, Sahib Shihab, Idrees Sulieman and Lucky Thompson.

From 11:00pm to midnight, on his program “Rabble Without A Cause”, Bernard Stepien will attempt to draft a Thelonious Monk cookbook by looking, in the first half of the program, at some essential elements of his compositions, namely the obsessional concentration on single phrases as in Blue Monk, Raise Four, Friday the 13th, the obsessional concentration on single chord sequences as in Well You Needn’t, We See, asymmetric rhythmic patterns as in I Mean You, or even the seemingly absence of chords that sounds as if there were all kinds of them.
In the second half of the program he will look at Monk’s obviously most difficult compositions such as Skippy, Gallop’s Gallop, Humph, Introspection, Thelonious, Four In One, Trinkle Tinkle, Who Knows, Brilliant Corners and even Coming on the Hudson. If time permits, he
will talk about the deceptively simple Monk compositions that certainly sound simple but are
a nightmare for determining what to improvise on them.

CKCU-FM is a campus/community radio station, broadcasting at 93.1 FM from Ottawa, Canada, and offering alternative independent current affairs, community and music programming in approximately twenty languages. It can be heard around the world at

For more information on CKCU, contact Station Manager Matthew Crosier at
613-520-2600 extension 1625. For more information on their respective contributions to the Thelonious Monk celebration, contact Bruce Walton at, Ron Sweetman at or Bernard Stepien at