Teatro Sistina, Rome December 1969 concert poster (Anon.)
Original first printing concert poster advertising the great Thelonious Monk at the Teatro Sistina in Rome [Italy] on Monday, 1st December, 1969, presented by Franco Fontana. The concert in Rome was part of Monk’s eighth European tour, which took place at the end of a hard year in Monk’s life. His physical and mental health had begun to fail and he had been quite ill in the months prior to the European tour. He had medical bills he could not pay, and was also in dispute with his record label, Columbia Records. On top of this, he had lost his core rhythm section, bassist Larry Gales and drummer Ben Riley, who had been with Monk since 1964. Inexplicably, Monk had hired two unknown musicians for the tour: Berklee music school student Nate “Lloyd” Hygelund on bass and 17-year-old drummer Paris Wright, son of bassist Herman Wright. Tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, Monk’s musical alter ego for 11 years, was still with him though, although he had one foot out the door. He gave notice immediately after the tour, finally fed up with Monk’s moodiness and erratic behavior. In November, Monk had played in a tribute to Duke Ellington at the Berliner Jazz Tage, and fulfilled a lengthy quartet engagement at Ronnie Scott’s nightclub in London. Thelonious Monk was only 52 in 1969, and had another 12 years to live. But in terms of his artistic life, he was near the end. His concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris on 15th December, the last concert on this tour, is available on both CD and DVD, released by Blue Note as “Paris 1969”. The Teatro Sistina was primarily a venue for stage acting. But in 1969, playwrights and theatre directors Pietro Garinei and Sandro Giovannini entrusted promoter Franco Fontana with the task of organizing concerts at the Teatro Sistina every Monday as Monday was the theatre company’s rest day. The concerts were called “The Sistina Monday” (I Lunedi del Sistina) and featured a host of acclaimed international artists, including Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Joan Baez, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, and Dizzy Gillespie.
Printed by Graf Roma, with the printer’s imprint to the bottom left corner. The poster measures 33.4 x 99.8 cm (approx. 13.1 by 39.3 inches) and is printed in red and black inks on thin, matte-coated paper stock (coated on front only). Folded thrice with light overall surface handling wear, else in remarkably near excellent condition. Feel free to email us with any questions you may have regarding this item. Additional images of the poster available on request.