T.S. Monk Comes to The Bickford Theatre, 2/22

T.S. Monk Comes to The Bickford Theatre, 2/22The 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 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.

Each member of this renowned sextet is celebrated in jazz circles and beyond. William Williams has enjoyed a long collaboration with T.S., but has also performed with Art Blakey, Jackie Byard, Sam Rivers and the Mingus Dynasty Band. Patience Higgins is a long time member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra but has also toured and recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Barry Harris and Ray Charles among a long list of great musicians. A global tour de force who has performed all over the world, pianist Helen Sung straddles both the classical and the jazz worlds. A graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, she works with luminaries such as Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and Regina Carter as well as with T.S. Monk and her own groups. Trumpeter Randall Haywood and his long-time partner April May Webb collaborate as S.O.A.R., successfully riding the charts in 2017 with one of the top 100 jazz albums of the year.

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 www.morrismuseum.org/jazz-showcase. 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.

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