I'm not fan of Thelonius Monk, actually I should say it's impossible to stay away from him when we learn to play jazz piano. He was not such a technical player, but what he plays impresses us at the first one or two minutes. After that, technical matters are forgotten because techiniques can't explain how Monk's play is splendid.
Thelonius Monk is not so popular in Japan. Of course jazz fans know his name, but I hardly see Monk fan pianists. But they all know Monk's music, and they say it's special and not possible to play like him.
After all, any jazz pianist can't igonore Monk, and it means his influence still lives on.
If I pick up the solid character pianists, they would be Evans, Jarrett, Mehldaw, Corea and Monk. Many other players makes good, beautiful, jazzy feeling music by piano, but the characters of piano play of these genius are unbeatable.
Among them, Monk is the strongest in sound character, this is my opinion.