Author Topic: Advice From the Master: Thelonious Monk Scribbles a List of Tips for Playing a G  (Read 821 times)

Offline gandydancer123

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Transcribed by soprano sax player Steve Lacy in a spiral-bound notebook, Thelonious Monk created a primer of do’s and don’ts for club musicians. For the greenhorns, Monk presented a syllabus for Band Etiquette 101 titled “1. Monk’s Advice (1960).” For the rest of us, it’s a view into one of the greatest, quirkiest minds of American music.

Some highlights:

“Don’t play the piano part. I’m playing that. Don’t listen to me. I’m supposed to be accompanying you!”

Monk himself was famous for his eccentricity—some say he was mentally ill and others blame bad psychiatric medications. He was known to stop playing piano, stand up and dance a bit while the band played on. But through his advice he reveals his fine sense of restraint.

“Don’t play everything (or every time); let some things go by. Some music just imagined. What you don’t play can be more important than what you do.”

Monk was evidently a stickler for band protocol. He leads his list with “Just because you’re not a drummer doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep time!”

What should players wear to a gig? Definitively cool, Monk replies “Sharp as possible!” Read that as rings on your fingers, a hat, sunglasses and your best suit coat.

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Offline bakit?

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good read. i like jazz musicians when they play. i just cant play [gooey brown stuff].
I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.


Offline levi_celery

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thanks for this!