September 21, 2022 11:00 EST

Books and Manuscripts

 
Lot 80
 
Lot 80 - [Music] Monk, Thelonious

80

[Music] Monk, Thelonious
Typed Document, signed

Legendary jazz musician Thelonious Monk sells the copyright to a bebop anthem

New York, February 18, 1946. One sheet, 11 x 8 1/2 in. (279 x 216 mm). Typed document, signed by Thelonious Monk, transferring to the Monogram Music Company the "rights, title and interest...together with all and any existing copyrights therein in the United States of America and throughout the World," for his unrecorded composition, "Nameless," for the "sum of One Dollar ($1.00) and other good and valuale (sic) consideration to it in hand paid..." Creased from contemporary fold; sello-tape repairs along right edge; two hole punches along top edges; scattered wear along left edge.

Early in his performing career, legendary American jazz musician Thelonious Monk (1917-82) sells the rights to his song "Nameless," a popular bebop composition among his contemporaries.

In April 1944, "Nameless" was the first song that Monk copyrighted with himself as sole composer, after having to unfairly share credit on previous compositions. At the time it was an incredibly popular tune among numerous jazz musicians in the bebop scene along New York's famed 52nd street. Frequently played as a sign-off by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie (1917-93), and others, Monk hoped to ensure that his claim to it was protected. During the intervening two years before he sold it to Monogram he began to refer to it by another name, "Bip Bop," which he later claimed was the origin of the term "Bebop." It was during the time when Monk signed this contract that he was writing compositions for American jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins (1904-69) at the Spotlite Club on 52nd Street, and was publishing with Monogram founder, Walter "Gil" Fuller (1920-94). Monk and Fuller's relationship began the previous fall of 1945, when Fuller became the arranger for Gillespie's band, then in residence at the Spotlite. Fuller heard some of Monk's tunes played by Hawkins's band, and offered to publish some of his work. Monk sold this song to Fuller four days before it was recorded by Gillespie at RCA Victor, on February 22, 1946, under its more recognizable title "52nd Street Theme." From April-June 1946, Monk played a short stint with Gillespie's band, and performed many of the tunes he published and sold to Fuller.

Monk's address on this document, 243 West 63rd Street, was his residence for most of his life, and upon his death in 1982, a street nearby was renamed "Thelonious Sphere Monk Circle" by the City of New York in his honor.

Provenance

RR Auction, Boston, Marvels of Modern Music, June 23, 2015, Lot 7173

From the private collection of Asher D. Atchick, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Sold for $693
Estimated at $800 - $1,200


 

Legendary jazz musician Thelonious Monk sells the copyright to a bebop anthem

New York, February 18, 1946. One sheet, 11 x 8 1/2 in. (279 x 216 mm). Typed document, signed by Thelonious Monk, transferring to the Monogram Music Company the "rights, title and interest...together with all and any existing copyrights therein in the United States of America and throughout the World," for his unrecorded composition, "Nameless," for the "sum of One Dollar ($1.00) and other good and valuale (sic) consideration to it in hand paid..." Creased from contemporary fold; sello-tape repairs along right edge; two hole punches along top edges; scattered wear along left edge.

Early in his performing career, legendary American jazz musician Thelonious Monk (1917-82) sells the rights to his song "Nameless," a popular bebop composition among his contemporaries.

In April 1944, "Nameless" was the first song that Monk copyrighted with himself as sole composer, after having to unfairly share credit on previous compositions. At the time it was an incredibly popular tune among numerous jazz musicians in the bebop scene along New York's famed 52nd street. Frequently played as a sign-off by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie (1917-93), and others, Monk hoped to ensure that his claim to it was protected. During the intervening two years before he sold it to Monogram he began to refer to it by another name, "Bip Bop," which he later claimed was the origin of the term "Bebop." It was during the time when Monk signed this contract that he was writing compositions for American jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins (1904-69) at the Spotlite Club on 52nd Street, and was publishing with Monogram founder, Walter "Gil" Fuller (1920-94). Monk and Fuller's relationship began the previous fall of 1945, when Fuller became the arranger for Gillespie's band, then in residence at the Spotlite. Fuller heard some of Monk's tunes played by Hawkins's band, and offered to publish some of his work. Monk sold this song to Fuller four days before it was recorded by Gillespie at RCA Victor, on February 22, 1946, under its more recognizable title "52nd Street Theme." From April-June 1946, Monk played a short stint with Gillespie's band, and performed many of the tunes he published and sold to Fuller.

Monk's address on this document, 243 West 63rd Street, was his residence for most of his life, and upon his death in 1982, a street nearby was renamed "Thelonious Sphere Monk Circle" by the City of New York in his honor.

Provenance

RR Auction, Boston, Marvels of Modern Music, June 23, 2015, Lot 7173

From the private collection of Asher D. Atchick, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

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