Herbie Nichols on Thelonious Monk

What a thrill! Rob van der Bliek, the author of the Thelonious Monk Reader, reached out after reading the big DTM overview and sent me the scarce 1946 article by Herbie Nichols for the Afro-American periodical Rhythm.

Here’s the scoop on the elusive Nichols piece on Monk from 1946: At the time I was gathering and putting together the material for The Thelonious Monk Reader in the late 1990s, there was confusion about Nichols’ piece, since he was quoted as saying in A.B. Spellman’s Four Lives in the Bebop Business that he wrote the profile for the Music Dial in 1946. I was at the Institute for Jazz Studies perusing their files and came across a photocopy of a column Nichols had written in 1944 for the Music Dial, in which he briefly mentions Monk as someone to watch out for, and after consulting with a number of people and having searched the remaining issues of the Music Dial, concluded that this was what he was referring to. Not so … As it turns out, years later both Mark Miller, who was working on a biography on Nichols, and Robin Kelley, who was working on his Monk biography, unearthed the 1946 article, but as it turned out it had been published in a magazine called Rhythm.

Amazing. I am overdue to read Mark Miller’s Herbie Nichols book and this glorious find is just the right push for me to do so. The book is available here.

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