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. "Can't Call It That" is actually a tongue-in-cheek joke replacement title for Monk's legendary classic, "Straight, No Chaser." According to the recollections of Monk's son, his father originally intended to call the composition "Straight, No Chaser," but decided the title would be upsetting to his mother, a devout Christian who would disapprove of a title that referred to hard drinking. Eventually, of course, Monk relented and went back to the originally intended title. Out of all of Monk's classic compositions, "Straight, No Chaser" is easily his most famous after "'Round Midnight."
The piece is written in Monk's own hand, as are his initials "TSM" in the upper right of the sheet. As it states "Eb Horn" in the upper left, it is likely that this was the working sheet music given to alto saxophonist Sahib Shihab to work from during the original Thelonious Monk Quintet recording of "Straight, No Chaser" in 1951.
The dimensions of the piece are 12.5 x 9.5 inches, and the condition is excellent except for a small stain near the bottom edge that does not affect the writing.
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.