A giant of epic proportions: composer, pianist, bandleader, revolutionary.
He was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, but grew up in New York City, 243 West 63rd Street to be precise. This is where Lincoln Center is now. At the time, the neighborhood was known as "San Juan Hill." Benny Carter and other jazz greats came from the neighborhood too.
Some of his compositions that have become jazz standards include “Epistrophy,” “‘Round Midnight,” “Blue Monk,” “Straight No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t.”
Like Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, he was mentored by pianist Mary Lou Williams. Monk and Powell were close friends.
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