"In My Mind allows me to ruminate on African-American slavery, jazz history, the piano, my life, religion, and redemption. Monk gave me life." —Jason Moran
In the 100th anniversary year of jazz great Thelonius Monk’s birth, Krannert Center and the University of Illinois School of Music join in a semester-long celebration that will include both classroom and performance explorations of the origins, brilliance, and impact of Monk’s work. Monk is the subject of two pathbreaking books by School of Music professor Gabriel Solis: Monk’s Music: Thelonious Monk and Jazz History in the Making and Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall.
As part of this celebration, Krannert Center welcomes MacArthur Genius and Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran, who credits Monk with first drawing him to the piano. With In My Mind, Moran and his Big Bandwagon take audiences on a journey exploring Monk’s roots and monumental influence on the music that came after him. Inspired by the Thelonious Monk Orchestra’s historic 1959 concert at New York’s Town Hall, In My Mind features live music interspersed with spoken word, archival audio recordings and photographs, and a video produced by David Dempewolf. The New York Times declares the program a “stunning project—connecting with Monk beyond the surface of his music.”