Monday, June 21, 2010

Brendan Behan And Thelonious Monk in NYC 1963 At The Five Spot Cafe

Click on the videos to enlarge them.

Click below for information on Brendan Behan.

In the summer of 1963 I was in New York visiting my brother and he suggested we go to the Five Spot Cafe to hear Thelonius Monk. We went with my friend Jeff Barr. Monk was playing when a drunk got up from the bar and went over to the piano and started singing Irish songs. I wondered why the owners of the bar didn't throw the guy out. Then someone said "It's Brendan Behan". So they left him alone to sing Irish songs as Monk improvised modern jazz. Monk did not seem at all upset or surprised. When we left and got back to my brother's apartment he suggested to Jeff that he write about it and send it in to Downbeat or Metronome magazine. Jeff did and one of those two jazz publications printed a small item about an unusual evening of Irish Folk Songs and Modern Jazz combined.
I think I read that Behan had escaped or checked himself out of hospital that night.
Brendan Behan died soon after that in 1964.
Here is some information about Thelonius Monk that includes where he is buried.
Here is information on the Five Spot Cafe. And down at the bottom are links to Five Spot Memorabilia. Click on that to see a copy of Monk's contract at the Five Spot for bewteen May 1963 to September 1963. I think we went to see him in June 1963.