Posted on | May 24, 2010 | 7 Comments
by Nou Dadoun
Last year in a Vancouver Jazz Forum discussion of great Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts, Guy MacPherson was kind enough to provide a scan of a rare JATP programme from a concert in Victoria attended by Guy’s father Fraser MacPherson and said to be at the Armory:
This program revealed the surprising fact that Thelonious Monk had visited Victoria in the company of Coleman Hawkins, with whom he had recorded, although the date of the Victoria appearance in that discussion was still in question.
Thanks to the recent Monk biography by Robin D. G. Kelley (Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of An American Orginal), we can now pinpoint that date pretty closely. On page 107, it states that “Norman Granz invited Hawk back to California, this time for a three-week national tour that would open in Los Angeles on November 26  and terminate in Victoria, British Columbia“. This puts the Victoria date within a couple of days of December 16th, 1945, a little over a year after Monk and Hawkins recorded together for the Joe Davis label on October 19th, 1944.
The book has some great stories about the tour including the fact that Monk missed his train in Portland and had to fly to Seattle to join the band. Subsequently, “Monk made it to Victoria but the concert was a complete bust.”
The book goes into significant detail about Monk’s performances and tours (including the sole time I saw Monk at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto with Pat Patrick in 1970) but doesn’t mention any subsequent visits to Victoria or Vancouver. Did he ever return to B.C.?