Thelonious Monk: Advice

Thelonious Monk

The Original Document

Transcribed by Steve Lacy who played with Monk in the 1960's. 

-- Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep time.

-- Pat your foot and sing the melody in your head, when you play.

-- Stop playing all those weird notes (that bullshit), play the melody!

-- Make the drummer sound good.

-- Discrimination is important.

-- You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?


-- Always know….(MONK)

-- It must be always night, otherwise they wouldn’t need the lights.

-- Let’s lift the band stand!!

-- I want to avoid the hecklers.

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

-- The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.

-- 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 that what you do.

-- A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your imagination.

-- Stay in shape! Sometimes a musician waits for a gig, and when it comes, he’s out of shape and can’t make it.

-- When you’re swinging, swing some more.

-- What should we wear tonight? Sharp as possible!

-- Always leave them wanting more.

-- Don’t sound anybody for a gig, just be on the scene. These pieces were written so as to have something to play and get cats interested enough to come to rehearsal.

-- You’ve got it! - If you don’t want to play, tell a joke or dance, but in any case, you got it! (To a drummer who didn’t want to solo)

-- Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself.

-- They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along and spoil it.

all content copyright 2015-2019 s. talkovich - (The Monk and Beefheart quotes are public domain)