[JPL] Time cover correction
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Thelonious Monk Time Magazine Cover February 28, 1964
TIME magazine planned a cover story on Thelonious Monk scheduled for
November 1963, but it was delayed due to the Kennedy assassination.
Eventually the February 28, 1964 issue of TIME magazine featured Monk on the
cover and devoted several pages in the music section of the magazine to a
lengthy article about him written by Barry Farrell. This article is
transcribed here with all the original text.
When this week's cover artist first met this week's cover subject, neither
quite knew what to make of the other. Painter Boris Chaliapin, son of the
late, famed Russian basso, is somewhat more at home in the hot world of
opera than in the cool domains of latter-day bop. In answer to requests,
Jazz Pianist Thelonious Monk would mutter "All reet," greatly confusing
Chaliapin. When he finally caught on, Chaliapin replied in Russian-accented
retaliation: "All root."
During four sittings Thelonious had a disconcerting habit of dropping off to
sleep. Chaliapin would yell at him, "Monk, Monk, wake up!", then prod him
out of his armchair and walk him around the studio. Says he: "Monk's very
strange - in the best sense of the word." As for Thelonious, it took him a
week to learn to pronounce the painter's name. Having mastered it, he
improvised a song that repeated "Chaliapin! Chaliapin!" over and over again,
in the manner of "Hallelujah!"
Monk has not yet given this treatment to the name of TIME's music writer,
but he may one day get around to a "Barry Farrell! Barry Farrell!" chorus.
While preparing the cover story, Farrell found that you "can't really
interview Monk." He had about 30 chats with him, spread over two or three
months, mostly walking around outside the Five Spot, Monk's Manhattan base,
or sitting in some dark bar at 2 a.m. - "just like Cosa Nostra."
Farrell considers himself "a jazz fan in a way I am not a fan of anything
else," takes a night or two each week "to beat about the scene." But he
thinks that for all its joy, jazz is surrounded by so much sadness that "to
just say you love jazz is wrong."
One of the incidental benefits of jazz has always been to enrich the
American idiom. A fairly recent jazz expression, used in this week's cover
story, is "bag." meaning school, camp or category. In the occasionally
special journalistic idiom we speak at work here at TIME, the expression may
prove useful; we may yet end up referring to what is going on in the
Democratic bag, the United Nations bag, the fashion, Pop art or symphonic
bag. But one thing our cover story makes clear beyond doubt: there is no one
else quite like Thelonious Monk in the jazz bag.
Bernhard M. Auer - Publisher
© TIME magazine 1964.
(photo of Barry Farrell by Ben Martin.)
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