Thelonious Sphere Monk and Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter (née Rothschild) had one of the most unique friendships in the history of jazz music, and it is the center around which this graphic novel is woven. While Monk's career began over a decade before he met de Koenigswarter – at which point he had already recorded his most important compositions – their relationship spanned the final three decades of Monk's life and career, and makes a great story. And that story is, while greatly simplified here, told with a great élan which evinces an obvious passion for the material on the part of its creator, Youssef Daoudi. There are more great comics sequences of jazz performance between two covers than any other work we can think of. In addition to the innumerable portraits of Monk at rest, dancing to the music of the spheres, and in performance, there are portraits – mostly in performance – of a vast swath of his cohorts, including Bird, Diz, Miles, Trane and many others.
And, reading this will have you pulling out your Monk discs and giving them yet another listen (or two, or three...), which in and of itself is enough to recommend it. Monk!