24 feb. 2009

Monk's advice to Lacy, with hat tip to Silliman's Blog. JM's comments in brackets.

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

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

[The improvising soloist has to keep track of where the melody of the song is supposed to be, even if nobody is playing that melody.]

Stop playing that bullshit, those weird notes. Play the melody!

Make the drummer sound good.

[Once again, an emphasis on keeping time. If the sax player is really in synch, it will make the drummer sound good.]

You've got to dig it to dig it, you dig?

All reet.


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


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

[Lacy was probably following Monk too much, responding to the accompaniment]

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

[Inside was Monk's slang for the bridge of a tune. That would be the B section of an AABA form. It's a nice metaphor]

Don't play everything (or every time). Let some things just go by. Some music just imagined. What you don't play can be more important than what you do. Always leave them wanting more.

[Nice show business cliché, but with a profound point.]

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

When you're swinging, swing some more.

[I love this one.]

Whatever you think can't be done, someone 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 & spoil it.