Thelonious Monki got my first Monk recommendation from GK - "Underground" he purchased, and so did i, in some part because of that crazy badass album cover.
there's Monk sitting at an upright piano looking looney and ornery in the midst of all sorts of random and dangerous things - like a cuban nazi jew gypsy warfare specialist.
i find Monk's tunes stay with me - his melodies are so catchy! for sounding musically slurred at times.
one of my thesis advisors at swarthmore, Philip Weinstein, he had a young jazz collection - the greatest hits of Bird, Miles, Basie. but no Monk. and Monk is key. so i gave him my "Thelonious Monk - the Composer" Sony compilation because it lacked continuity enough for me and i had most of the tracks on other discs. good intro though.
(like ellington, i made monk a page in 1994. that page has sound clips, and some still seem to work!)