Friday, February 9, 2018

T.S. Monk Sextet Featuring Vocalist April May Webb Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Jazz Legend Thelonious Monk’s Birth

Bickford Theatre Concert on February 22

(Morristown, NJ) – The Bickford Theatre celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of jazz legend Thelonious Monk on Thursday, February 22, with a concert featuring his son, the acclaimed drummer, educator and composer T.S. Monk (photo) who will perform with his sextet introducing vocalist April May Webb.

T.S. Monk got his first drumsticks from a regular visitor to their family home, drummer and jazz icon Max Roach, and eventually joined his father’s trio, touring with him until he retired in 1975. As an R&B artist with his own band, T.S. recorded the classic “Bon Bon Vie, Give Me the Good Life” before returning to jazz in 1992. He created the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and works tirelessly to promote jazz education, provide scholarships for music students, and promote his father’s legacy.

In addition to T.S. Monk on drums, the sextet features Willie Williams on tenor sax, Patience Higgins on alto sax and flute, Helen Sung on piano, Randall Haywood on trumpet, Chris Berger on bass, and vocalist April May Webb (photo below).

Vocal sensation April May Webb hails from Kansas and counts Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, and Jill Scott among her musical influences. Although still in her early twenties, she placed third in the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Voice Competition and looks forward to sharing renditions of “Round Midnight” and “In Walked Bud.”

Thelonious Monk, considered the Father of Modern Jazz, took music in an entirely new direction. As a pioneering composer, his work was so original that it was overlooked by jazz audiences at first. Beginning with his contract with Riverside Records in the mid-fifties, he began to receive acclaim for his work. By 1962, Thelonious Monk was so popular that he was given a contract with Columbia Records and went on to become one of the few jazz musicians to be on the cover of Time Magazine. He retired from performing in the mid-seventies and passed away in 1982 but his legacy lives on. After his death, Monk was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, awarded a special Pulitzer Prize, and featured on a postage stamp. Many of his compositions, such as “Round Midnight,” “Blue Monk,” “Straight, No Chaser,” “Rudy, My Dear,” and “Well, You Needn’t” have become jazz standards.

Tickets for the T.S. Monk Sextet are $35 in advance and $40 at the door and may be purchased by calling the box office at 973-971-3706 or visiting The concert is on Thursday, February 22, at 7:30 pm. The Bickford Theatre is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.   

Photo: T.S. Monk Photo courtesy of Ed Keane Associates.

Photo: Vocalist April May Webb Photo courtesy of Julianne Karr.

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