Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Reader's Diary #2021: Youssef Dadudi: Monk!

Jazz is one of the few musical forms I haven't been able to get really into. I respect it (the talent, the artistry) but sometimes I find it difficult and I really need to be in the mood to give it a try. But I do try. While reading Youssef Dadudi's graphic novel biography of jazz legend Thelonius Monk I listened to his music and I must say, they went together quite well.

There's real movement in Dadudi's art, some experimentation, some improvisation with both the art and story telling, but also real substance and defined personality. Perhaps some Will Eisner, perhaps some Toulouse Lautrec influences? There's a flow to all of it, a rhythm and style. It's largely accessible though.

Monk himself is pinned down I suppose as much as a naturally enigmatic man like him could be; he came across as loyal friend, fast-thinking sometimes impatient genius with a better knack of communicating through music than words, sometimes crippled by mental illness, and sometimes a cliche. He sometimes comes across as the quintessential jazz stereotype with his "cool cat" lingo, his sunglasses-goatee-funky-hat appearance, and all his talk about the notes you don't hear being so damned important.

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