Amoeblog


Happy Birthday Thelonious Sphere Monk

Posted by Whitmore, October 10, 2009 12:37pm | Post a Comment

 “I'm famous. Ain't that a bitch?”
 
“Wrong is right.”
 
“Sometimes it's to your advantage for people to think you're crazy.”
 
“If someone wants to play music you do not have to get a ruler or whips to make them practice.”
 
“Be-bop wasn't developed in any deliberate way.”
 
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”
 
“All musicians stimulate each other. The vibrations get scattered around.”
 
“If you really understand the meaning of be-bop, you understand the meaning of freedom.”
 
“Man, that cat is nuts.” (Monk’s comment about Ornette Coleman.)
 
“Jazz is my adventure. I'm after new chords, new ways of syncopating, new figures, new runs. How to use notes differently. That's it. Just using notes differently.”
 
“Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”
 
“I don't have a definition of jazz... You're just supposed to know it when you hear it.”
 
“I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants -- you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you doing -- even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.”
 
“Miles’d got killed if he hit me.”
 
“Where’s jazz going? I don’t know? Maybe it’s going to hell. You can’t make anything go anywhere. It just happens.”
 
“Those who want to know what sound goes into my music should come to New York and open their ears.”
 
“I like to sleep. There is no set time of day for sleep. You sleep when you’re tired, that’s all there is to it.”
 
“I don’t consider myself a musician who has achieved perfection and can’t develop any further. But I compose my pieces with a formula that I created myself. Take a musician like John Coltrane. He is a perfect musician, who can give expression to all the possibilities of his instrument. But he seems to have difficulty expressing original ideas on it. That is why he keeps looking for ideas in exotic places. At least I don’t have that problem, because, like I say, I find my inspiration in myself.”
 
“At this time the fashion is to bring something to jazz that I reject. They speak of freedom. But one has no right, under pretext of freeing yourself, to be illogical and incoherent by getting rid of structure and simply piling a lot of notes one on top of the other. There’s no beat anymore. You can’t keep time with your foot. I believe that what is happening to jazz with people like Ornette Coleman, for instance, is bad. There’s a new idea that consists in destroying everything and find what’s shocking and unexpected; whereas jazz must first of all tell a story that anyone can understand.”
 
“Well, I enjoy doing it. That’s all I wanted to do anyway. I guess, you know, if I didn’t make it with the piano, I guess I would have been the biggest bum.”
 
Thelonious Monk was once asked what he thought of Downbeats jazz polls, he thought for a moment and replied, “I have a lot of respect for the Polish people, especially the way they can drink vodka.”



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Thelonious Monk (2), American Culture (94), Jazz (104)