This week, the Warehouse takes a moment to remember one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived, Mr. Max Monkey. Back in the early 50s, Max charmed audiences around the world with his unique piano jazz stylings.
Though he was best known for his boogie woogie tunes, Max was equally adept at mastering the newest sounds of the day. From 1947 to 1961, Max was one of RCA’s best selling artists –who has never seen a copy of 1959’s classic album A Monkey at Carnegie Hall?
The Max Monkey trio (Max on piano, Charlie Chimp on bass and Ollie Orangutan on drums) laboured on through the 1960s, until tragedy struck in 1963 when Charlie was killed in a banana truck mishap. The loss hit Max hard, which exacerbated a growing problem with the bottle. By 1966, Max was reduced to whatever low-paying gig he could find, and spent too much time hanging out with Chet Baker.
By 1968, Max had gone through rehab and was ready to take on the world again. Unfortunately, the world wasn’t ready to embrace him again, and The Groovy New World of Max Monkey flopped. He left the music business, embraced God and lived quietly until his death in 1974.
As Max’s legacy, the Warehouse is proud to offer at a special price several reissues of Max’s classic material from the 50s, on CD and record. Come down next weekend, when Max’s grandson Marcus proves talent runs in the family genes as he plays some of Max’s favourite tunes. You’ll swing, you’ll laugh, you’ll be astonished. Also check out our new Rent-a-Monkey department!