Monk!: Thelonious, Pannonica, and the Friendship Behind a Musical Revolution

illus. by Youssef Daoudi. 352p. First Second. Sept. 2018. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781626724341.
RedReviewStarThe hiss of cymbals. The vibration of a trumpet. The clickety clack of piano keys. Teens will hear music the moment they begin this graphic novel on jazz great Thelonious Monk and his friendship with writer and jazz patron Pannonica de Koenigswarter, a Rothschild heiress who chafed at the restrictions placed on her by her family and society. Daoudi covers Monk's struggles with mental illness and his shattering of barriers for musicians of color. More than anything else, though, the artist's skill and passion shine here. The panel layout forces readers to stay focused, and the artwork is beautiful, with colors that are somehow at once vibrant and muted. The author's choice of words is careful, immersing readers in Monk's life and times.
VERDICT A thorough and superb biography, for most nonfiction collections.

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