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Blue Monk

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Blue Monk was written by Thelonious Monk. This is often one of the first 12 bar blues tunes that a jazz musician will learn. Listen to the way Thelonious plays a countermelody is his left hand during the last 4 bars of the tune. Monk’s countermelody is worth learning and using as part of your arrangements.

Videos to learn the melody/changes

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Camden Hughes
Camden Hughes
Camden is a working jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator currently living near Boise, ID. He teaches music at the Idaho Arts Charter School, and is the jazz adjunct professor at Northwest Nazarene University. Check out his music at


  1. Tell me more about the counter melody on the last four bars, please . I would of like to start playing it with the melody I play in the right hand

    • I think what Camden means is the way the that Monk harmonizes the line with himself in the last 4 bars. I’ve been revisiting this tune recently (it was in fact one of the very first jazz heads I learnt on trumpet about 9 years ago) and I was checking out the live Monk & Coltrane version from Carnegie Hall. If you listen to the way Coltrane plays the head I’m pretty sure he actually uses the counter melody in playing the head rather the top line…. Hope that makes sense.


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