Thelonious Monk (October 10, 1917-17, 1982) is an American jazz pianist and composer famous for his improvisational style, as well as for writing many jazz standards.
Monk's family name comes from a certain Archibald Monk, owner of a plantation, who had as slave in the middle of the XIX the great-grandfather of Thelonious Monk>.
Thelonious Sphere Monk was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on October 10, 1917. It seems that the name on the birth certificate is "Thellous Junior Monk", probably a bad writing by Thelonious Monk, Junior - Monk's father called himself Thelonious>. This name comes from a Benedictine monk of the VII century; the pianist invented his middle name "Sphere", resulting from a distorted family name of his mother, Speer>.
In 1922, when he was four years old, the future pianist, his mother Barbara, his older sister Marion and his little brother Thomas settled in Manhattan, at 243 West 63rd Street, near the Hudson River. While most blacks from the south settled in Harlem>, the Monk chose to settle in this multi-ethnic neighborhood where black Americans, Irish, Italians, Jews, but where clashes between communities are frequent and very marked segregation>. His father joined them three years later, but for health reasons - he suffered from psychiatric problems and would end his life as an institute - he returned to North Carolina.