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.

โ€” Thelonious Monk

The most famous Thelonious Monk quotes that are little-known but priceless

The loudest noise in the world is silence.

130

Trying to explain music is like trying to dance architecture.

116

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.

109

Jazz is freedom. You think about that.

102

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.

100

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

82

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

76

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

67

A genius is the one most like himself.

61

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

49

After two takes you're imitating yourself.

36

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

36

About Thelonious Monk

Quotes 48 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Musician
Birthday October 16

The piano ain't got no wrong notes.

14

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

14

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

13

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

10

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

10

I always believed in being myself.

7

Jazz is my adventure.

3

Everybody in all countries tries to play jazz.

1

I never though much about race.

0

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

0

I played the wrong wrong notes.

0

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

0

Sometimes it's to your advantage for people to think you're crazy

0

We have two kids, my wife and myself.

0

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

0

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

0

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

0

All musicians are potential band leaders.

0

I guess, you know, if I didn't make it with the piano, I guess I would've been the biggest bum.

0

I'd go stupid collecting and counting my money.

0

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

0

Everyone is a genius at being themselves

0

I made the wrong mistakes

0

The only cats worth anything are the cats that take chances.

0

Miles'd got killed if he hit me.

0

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

0

I compose my pieces with a formula that I created myself.

0

Whatever you think canโ€™t be done, somebody will come along and do it.

A genius is the one most like himself.

0

I find my inspiration in myself.

0

All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.

0

Man, that cat [Ornette Coleman] is nuts.

0

There are no wrong notes; some are just more right than others.

0

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!

0

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.

0

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

0
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