T.S. Monk, son of Thelonious and Nellie Monk, was born December 27, 1949.
As a child, being the son of a Jazz legend allowed him to be in the company
of the most important musicians on the planet, men like John Coltrane and Sonny
Rollins, who played with his father. T.S. started out on trumpet and then
piano before switching to drums when he was 13, taking some lessons from
He played with his father's quartet in 1970 and 1971, then branched out to
fusion with a band called Natural Essence, which he co-led with Nat
Adderley, Jr. The drummer also led a popular group called T.S. Monk that
had a few hits in the mid-'70s.
In 1986, he established the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, an
organization that not only celebrates Monk, Sr.'s music but has an annual
competition that has resulted in fame for some of its winners. His
work with the Institute inspired his own return to playing Jazz.
T.S. played in Clifford Jordan's big band and with pianist Walter Davis,
Jr. before putting together his own sextet. The group is noted for mixing
incredible precision with raging passion, often performing obscure Jazz
originals from the 1960s hard bop era with accurate transcriptions
contributed by its trumpeter/arranger Don Sickler.
T.S. Monk has developed into an excellent drummer with the evident
influence of Tony Williams. His own compositions include hard-to-play,
stop-on-a-dime shifts and catchy melodies. After many years of playing in
both the pop and Jazz spectrums, T.S. Monk has finally forged his own
Although he's firmly rooted in the Jazz tradition, T.S., through his
diverse approach that includes his own vocals, explores variations on
modern Jazz, light-to-moderate funk, vocal numbers, jungle rhythms, and
some sounds that come close to urban landscape. Diversity is his password.