Jazz at Lincoln Center
Thelonious Monk is a singular genius in the world of jazz. Exceptionally difficult and equally gratifying to play, his masterfully constructed compositions are proving grounds for thoughtful improvisation. One such composition is the masterpiece "'Round Midnight," written when Monk was only 18 years old. Tonight, his music will be performed by two of the most exciting young pianists of the next generation of jazz: 13-year-old Indonesian sensation Joey Alexander, the first true child prodigy in the history of jazz; and New Orleans' Sullivan Fortner (also known as "Church Swing"), recipient of the 2015 American Pianists Association's prestigious Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz honor. In a notable measure of their exceptional musicality, both of these artists have received extensive praise for their own interpretations of Monk. Following Jazz at Lincoln Center's Annual Gala in 2014, DownBeat gushed that Alexander "played his own solo variations on [Monk's] "'Round Midnight" with a breathtaking precocity and mastery of several decades of piano style." And after winning the aforementioned Cole Porter Fellowship, the New York Times described Fortner as "calling Monk himself to mind," with his "driving, staccato attack." With unwavering dedication, these exceedingly talented young artists are on the path to greatness. Each pianist will play with their trio, Fortner’s featuring bassist Ameen Saleem and drummer Jeremy Bean Clemons, and Alexander’s with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Willie Jones III. Make sure you can say you were there when they shared the House of Swing's most elegant stage.