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"T. S." Monk III
*Thelonious Sphere 'T. S.' Monk III was born on this date in 1949. He is a Black jazz drummer, composer, and bandleader.
Born in New York City, he is the son of jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and Nellie Monk. He began his music career early in his life, honing his skills throughout the 1970s. Monk's destiny was sealed when Art Blakey gave him his first drum set at the age of 15 and began lessons with Max Roach.
After earning a reputation in school as a rabble-rouser (and graduating), the young Monk joined his father's trio and toured with his dad until the elder Monk's retirement in 1975. Monk then launched into the music that had captivated him and his generation, R&B. He first toured with a group called Natural Essence and afterward, along with his sister Barbara, formed his own band. By the dawning of the 1980s, he had formed his eponymous band, which featured him on drums and occasional lead vocals.
The group's début album, 1980's House of Music, placed singles on the Billboard R&B chart, including "Bon Bon Vie (Gimme the Good Life)", which featured Monk on lead vocals, and "Candidate for Love". The band went on to release two more albums throughout the early 1980s. The band broke up shortly thereafter. Shortly after his father died in 1982, his sister, Barbara, died of cancer in 1984. To honor his father's legacy and support the efforts of education, Monk created the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
Monk received the New York Jazz Awards First Annual "Recording of the Year" award and Downbeats' 63rd annual Album of the Year Reader's Choice Award for Monk on Monk. This is the "80th Anniversary Birthday Tribute to Thelonious Sphere Monk" featuring 20 guest artists including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Arturo Sandoval, Dianne Reeves, Nnenna Freelon, and Howard Johnson. Under the guidance of Monk in 1996 and 1998, the Thelonious Monk Institute gathered for 'A Celebration of America's Music' hosted by Bill Cosby and featuring Natalie Cole, Jon Secada, Tony Bennett, k.d. lang, as well as Thelonious performing his father's signature tune, "'Round Midnight", with Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and Nnenna Freelon.