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Thelonious Monk Quotes

American pianist and composer (b. 1917), Birth: 10-10-1917, Death: 17-2-1982 Thelonious Monk Quotes
1.
Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself.
Thelonious Monk

'No matter how outlandish an idea may seem, someone will eventually succeed in achieving it. True greatness is being true to oneself.'
2.
I say, play your own way. Don't play what the public want - you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you doing - even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.
Thelonious Monk

'Follow your own path. Don't conform to what's popular - create something that is authentically you and eventually the public will come around, even if it takes time.'
3.
Sometimes it's to your advantage for people to think you're crazy
Thelonious Monk

Sometimes it's beneficial for people to assume you're eccentric.
4.
The loudest noise in the world is silence.
Thelonious Monk

The most deafening sound in existence is stillness.
5.
There are no wrong notes; some are just more right than others.
Thelonious Monk

'No tones are incorrect; some are just more fitting than others.'
Similar Authors: Karl Marx Jean-Jacques Rousseau Billy Joel Annie Lennox Jack London Les Brown Stephen Sondheim John Cage Herbie Hancock Ludwig van Beethoven Amanda Palmer John Lewis Norah Jones Nina Simone Igor Stravinsky
6.
Trying to explain music is like trying to dance architecture.
Thelonious Monk

7.
When I was a kid, some of the guys would try to get me to hate white people for what they've been doing to Negroes, and for a while I tried real hard. But every time I got to hating them, some white guy would come along and mess the whole thing up.
Thelonious Monk

8.
Jazz is freedom. You think about that.
Thelonious Monk

Quote Topics by Thelonious Monk: Music Jazz Play Thinking Musician Notes Way Sound Genius Two Bops Adventure Cat Trying People Inspiration Kids Knows World Mean Counting Crazy Want Mathematician Stupid Expression Piano Ifs Ideas Made
9.
Don't play everything (or every time); let some things go by... What you don't play can be more important than what you do.
Thelonious Monk

10.
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.
Thelonious Monk

11.
The only cats worth anything are the cats that take chances.
Thelonious Monk

12.
All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.
Thelonious Monk

13.
Everyone is influenced by everybody but you bring it down home the way you feel it.
Thelonious Monk

14.
Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean you don't have to keep time.
Thelonious Monk

15.
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.
Thelonious Monk

16.
A note can be as small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your imagination.
Thelonious Monk

17.
I don't have a definition of Jazz. You're just supposed to know it when you hear it.
Thelonious Monk

18.
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.
Thelonious Monk

19.
A genius is the one most like himself.
Thelonious Monk

20.
It can't be any new note. When you look at the keyboard, all the notes are there already. But if you mean a note enough, it will sound different. You got to pick the notes you really mean!
Thelonious Monk

21.
I didn't know there were 2 ten o'clocks in a day.
Thelonious Monk

22.
I can shoot pool, and I can play ping-pong. I'm pretty good at those games.
Thelonious Monk

23.
It's always night, or we wouldn't need light.
Thelonious Monk

24.
After two takes you're imitating yourself.
Thelonious Monk

25.
I don't know what other people are doing - I just know about me.
Thelonious Monk

26.
Those who want to know what sound goes into my music should come to NY and open their ears.
Thelonious Monk

27.
I have to listen to New York; I live there. I wasn't born there, but I've been living there all my life.
Thelonious Monk

28.
The majority of juice-heads and winos and junkies arent musicians.
Thelonious Monk

29.
If you really understand the meaning of be-bop, you understand the meaning of freedom.
Thelonious Monk

30.
The piano ain't got no wrong notes.
Thelonious Monk

31.
The inside of the tune [the bridge] is the part that makes the outside sound good.
Thelonious Monk

32.
Anybody talented in any way - they're called eccentric.
Thelonious Monk

33.
Everyone is a genius at being themselves
Thelonious Monk

34.
I made the wrong mistakes
Thelonious Monk

35.
I played the wrong wrong notes.
Thelonious Monk

36.
We have two kids, my wife and myself.
Thelonious Monk

37.
I don't know where jazz is going. Maybe it's going to hell. You can't make anything go anywhere. It just happens.
Thelonious Monk

38.
I'd go stupid collecting and counting my money.
Thelonious Monk

39.
I was playing birthday parties. House-rent parties where they used to sell whisky during prohibition.
Thelonious Monk

40.
I compose my pieces with a formula that I created myself.
Thelonious Monk

41.
I always believed in being myself.
Thelonious Monk

42.
Miles'd got killed if he hit me.
Thelonious Monk

43.
I never though much about race.
Thelonious Monk

44.
I find my inspiration in myself.
Thelonious Monk

45.
Jazz is my adventure.
Thelonious Monk

46.
Be-bop wasn't developed in any deliberate way.
Thelonious Monk

47.
Man, that cat [Ornette Coleman] is nuts.
Thelonious Monk

48.
All musicians are potential band leaders.
Thelonious Monk

49.
Everybody in all countries tries to play jazz.
Thelonious Monk