“…I suggest that [Monk’s] aesthetic was forged not in some idealized space, like the backroom of Minton’s, shielded from the corrupting influence of ‘commercial’ music, but through an engagement with popular song. One cannot approach this important jazz composer and improviser without acknowledging his deep affinity for the popular songs with which he grew up. That respect and affection, measured in part by fidelity to the original, is more nakedly exposed in Monk’s solo-piano performances than elsewhere, but I strongly suspect that it is shared by most other musicians of Monk’s generation and that it is more deeply embedded in jazz as a whole than its most ardent champions might care to admit.”
Scott Deveaux, "'Nice Work If You Can Get It': Thelonious Monk and Popular Song," Black Music Research Journal 19/2 (1999): 183.
Thelonious Monk, "April in Paris," Thelonious Himself (1957):
Thelonious Monk, "Ruby, My Dear," Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane (1957):