Thelonious Monk was not only one of the most important innovators of jazz piano in the history of American music, but is arguably the genre's most important composer. He is the second most recorded composer in jazz history, only surpassed by Duke Ellington in sheer volume. This is an especially remarkable feat when one considers that Ellington's career yielded over one thousand compositions, while Monk's only yielded around seventy. Monk was also one of only five jazz musicians ever to appear on the cover of Time Magazine, the others being Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck and Wynton Marsalis.
Offered here is another incredible acquisition from the collection of one of the most prolific jazz memorabilia collectors in the world. "Boo Boo's Birthday" was a composition that Thelonious wrote for his daughter Barbara, written in September of 1967 according to the recollections of Monk's son.
About 90 minutes into the documentary film, "Straight, No Chaser," Monk can be seen showing saxophonist Charlie Rouse how to play "Boo Boo's Birthday." Astoundingly, a freeze frame close up of the scene reveals that the lesson is being taught from this exact same piece of sheet music. The Thelonious Monk Quartet, along with Rouse, recorded the tune shortly after at Columbia Studios in December of 1967.
The music is written on a folded folio, the title in red crayon and the music in pencil, all in the hand of Thelonious Monk himself. Beneath the music is some mysterious writing, "NU NINE J + SAT." When the folio is spread out, there is additional mysterious writing. Thelonious Monk's son suggests that this additional writing was either the work of himself or his younger sister.
The dimensions of the folio when folded are 12 x 9 inches, and the condition is overall good, showing some yellowing from age and minor staining.
This piece is currently the property of one of the most prolific jazz collectors in the world, whose name is not offered in the context of this description in the interest of privacy. It was purchased by him in 2005 from Guernsey's Auctioneers in New York for an understandably formidable sum. Serious inquiries will be forwarded to the owner of the piece so that arrangements can be made for viewing the piece in person if desired, and to discuss other details. Because of the high ticket attached to this item, its purchase will be processed through a reputable escrow service unless other arrangements are agreed upon. Reasonable offers will be considered by the owner. Serious inquiries only, please contact Louie at firstname.lastname@example.org.