The greatest conversationalists are: Journalists? Atheists? Book readers? How about jazz musicians? I shared my first London flat with a jazz drummer and I know. Obiter dicta by the great pianist, Thelonius Monk, transcribed by another, Stan Tracey. HHB found them and I’m grateful.
● Just because you’re not a drummer doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep time.
● Pat your foot and sing the melody in your head when you play.
● Stop playing all those weird notes (That bullshit!). Play the melody.
● Make the drummer sound good.
● You’ve got to dig it to dig it – you dig?
● It must be always night, otherwise they wouldn’t need all the lights.
● Let’s lift the bandstand.
● Don’t play the piano part, I’m playing that. Don’t listen to me. I’m supposed to be accompanying you.
● The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.
● Don’t play everything (or every time); let somethings go by. Some music is just imagined. What you don’t play can be more important than what you do.
● A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world. It depends on your imagination.
● Stay in shape. Sometimes a musician waits for a gig and, when it comes, he’s out of shape and can’t make it.
● When you’re swinging, swing some more
● What should we wear tonight? Sharp as possible
● To a drummer who didn’t want to solo. Don’t sound anybody for a gig. Just be on the scene. These pieces were written so as to have something to play and to get cats interested enough to get to rehearsal.