Monk's Mood

Thomas F DeFrantz in Monk's Mood


Monk’s Mood: A Performance Meditation on the Life and Music of Thelonious Monk

Monk’s Mood began as an exploration of Monk’s life and music, but became a meditation on the creative process itself.

As often as not, the work considers the desire to compose. What are the terms of isolation that allow artists to create something from nothing, and how does that solitude affect their well-being?

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Opening Sequence

Round Midnight

Thomas F. DeFrantz on

Creating Monk’s Mood

Creating tap dance phrases in response to Monk’s evocative and erratic playing inspired the Wall of Sound approach that often works against the basic pulse of the music. The digital pads on the stage are connected by computers to audio and video mixers to generate sound and image. Dance steps trigger the sound and imagery that accompany the story of Monk’s life. The pads take on the character of the Baroness; become the Jazz All Stars that Monk performed with, however briefly; and offer a compositional device for his ode to Billie Holiday.

Performed at Joyce Soho, December 7, 2009

Watch Monk’s Mood

Thomas DeFrantz performs Monk's Mood.
Thomas DeFrantz performs Monk's Mood.
Thomas DeFrantz performs Monk's Mood.