Thelonious Monk

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You can't make anything go anywhere. It just happens.

Thelonious Monk (10 October 191717 February 1982) was a jazz pianist and composer.


  • I don't know where it's going. Maybe it's going to hell. You can't make anything go anywhere. It just happens.
    • When questioned as to the future of jazz, as quoted in Jet magazine (31 March 1960), p. 30
Interviewer: What other interests do you have?
Monk: Life in general.
Interviewer: What do you do about it?
Monk: Keep breathing.
Interviewer: What do you think the purpose of life is?
Monk: To die.
  • All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.
    • Interview in Down Beat magazine (28 October 1971)
  • Monk enters the studio and starts playing, the rest of the musicians join him. After few minutes of play the technician from his room shouts and stops the band.]
    Monk: "Why did we stop?"
    Technician: "I thought you were rehearsing."
    Monk: "Aren't we always?"
    • Thelonious Monk Documentary DVD.

Quotes about Monk[edit]

  • Working with Monk brought me close to a musical architect of the highest order. I felt I learned from him in every way — through the senses, theoretically, technically. I would talk to Monk about musical problems, and he would sit at the piano and show me the answers just by playing them. I could watch him play and find out the things I wanted to know. Also, I could see a lot of things that I didn't know about at all.
  • Working with Monk is like falling down a dark elevator shaft.
    • John Coltrane, in "Coltrane on Coltrane" in Downbeat (29 September 1960)

External links[edit]

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