A fine mainstream pianist who did not record until he was already 44, Monroe managed to make three albums before his premature death from cancer. Monroe (who was the second cousin of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass) began piano lessons when he was six. Although classically trained, he played in local dance bands as a teenager. During 1957-63 he was in the military, stationed in Brooklyn (where he played in the Brooklyn Navy Yard Band) and was able to visit the New York City jazz scene often. Settling in Columbia, MD after his discharge, Monroe worked during the day as the head of the Music Department of Howard Community College and played occasional gigs at night. A fine pianist who considered his early influences to be Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson and Horace Silver before he developed his own approach, Art Monroe recorded for his own Jazzbeau label in 1984 and made two additional sets for V.S.O.P. before his death.
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