Thelonious Monk 100th Birthday Tribute Album to Feature Japan's WONK

Courtesy of Billboard Japan


American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk would have been 100 years old this year. To celebrate his legacy, Japanese record label Epistroph and legendary American jazz record label Blue Note Records will release a collaborative tribute album Oct. 11, the day after his birthday.

Epistroph is home to WONK, the Japanese experimental soul band whose debut album, Sphere, released last September, received high acclaim. They have huge respect for Monk's uniquely inventive stance and style, so much so that the band's name is a play on the jazz giant's last name and "Sphere" is his middle name. The four-member band is involved in the tribute and say the project was something they'd been planning for a while.

The still-untitled album celebrating what would have been Monk's 100th birthday will feature a selection of new tracks by 10 of Epistroph's best up-and-coming musicians, rappers and beatmakers, including WONK.

Blue Note Records has successfully forayed beyond traditional jazz in recent years, releasing adventurous new works by artists such as Robert Glasper, Jose James and Chris Dave. The Thelonious Monk tribute album is expected to join the ranks of such innovative releases.

WONK will also release a pair of new albums -- Castor and Pollux -- Sept. 6.


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