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Jazz quartet to play Thelonious Monk concert on Jan. 26 for Jazz in the Sanctuary series

Clockwise, Musicians John Kramer on piano, Rick McLaughlin on bass, Dino Govoni on saxophone and Bertram Lehmann on drums will perform in Jazz in the Sanctuary at the Winchester Unitarian Society sanctuary, 478 Main St., Winchester, on Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. COURTESY PHOTO

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On Friday, Jan. 26, Winchester Unitarian Society’s Jazz in the Sanctuary 2024 spotlights the music of legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, beginning at 8 p.m., in the sanctuary, 478 Main St. The concert will be live streamed.

The program includes some of Monk’s best known and most recorded works, including “’Round Midnight,” “Straight, No Chaser,” “Blue Monk,” and “Ruby, My Dear.”

Music will be performed by John Kramer on piano, Dino Govoni on saxophone, Rick McLaughlin on bass, and Bertram Lehmann on drums.

Monk is considered one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time and a founder of modern jazz. His compositions reflect his unique approach to playing the piano, by turn percussive and restrained, sometimes almost playful, with dissonances, complex harmonies and unusual rhythms.

“Monk is such a unique and charismatic figure in jazz,” says pianist Kramer. “I’ve personally been very influenced by his music, especially his writing…Plus I really enjoy playing his music!” Another plus is that Monk’s music is a good fit for a jazz quartet: “Monk excelled in the small ensemble format,” observes Kramer.

Thelonious Monk plays at Minton's Playhouse in New York, N.Y. in September 1947. COURTESY PHOTO/ WIKIPEDIA WILLIAM P. GOTTLIEB

Monk was born in 1917 and grew up in New York City. He started playing the piano at age 6, taking lessons in stride playing, a jazz style pioneered by James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Eubie Blake. By his teens, Monk was playing at local bars; by his early 20s, he was jamming with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and other musicians who later developed the bebop movement. Today, Monk’s compositions are among the most covered in the contemporary jazz repertoire.

Suggested donations at the door are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students. Masks are optional. The venue is handicapped accessible, and street parking is available. For a link to the live-streamed concert, go to https://www.winchesteruu.org/news/concert-series. For more information, call 781-729-0949.

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