Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to Be Renamed After Herbie Hancock

The name change will take effect January 1, 2019

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Herbie Hancock at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, July 2018 (photo: Sharonne Cohen)

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will change its name to the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz on January 1.

The decision was made, the institute said in a press release announcing the change, by the board of trustees “following a request by representatives of the Monk Estate regarding the continued use of Thelonious Monk’s name.”

The board said its decision reflects Hancock’s “commitment and selfless service” to the institute, his “expert guidance” as institute chairman over the past 15 years, and “his immense contributions to and impact on music, education and humanity.”

Hancock, 78, is one of jazz’s most distinguished elders, having made a name for himself in the 1960s as a member of Miles Davis’ second quintet and going on to record numerous important albums—both acoustic jazz and fusion—as a solo artist. He has won 14 Grammys and one Academy Award.

As a trustee of the institute, a nonprofit educational organization established in 1986 and based in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Hancock recused himself from the voting process on the name change.

Hancock said in a statement that having the institute named in his honor was “tremendously humbling and represents a profound moment for my family and me,” adding: “I’m looking forward to continuing in my role as Institute Chairman and carrying on and expanding the organization’s important worldwide jazz education and humanitarian initiatives.”

In the release, the board of trustees thanked Thelonious Monk, Jr., and the Monk family “for everything they have done for the Institute over the past 30 years, and for helping to launch the Institute’s many education programs.”