51+ Thelonious Monk Quotes For Any Budding Jazz Pianists

Modern jazz is loved by all music lovers.
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“If music is a place, then jazz is a city.”

When it comes to jazz, Thelonious Monk will always be an all time favorite. The jazz pianist and composer was one of the greatest musicians of all time and was among the first to develop the modern jazz and bebop genres.

Gifted with the special talent that earned him the second place in most recorded jazz pianist and composer list, Thelonious Monk was born on October 10th, 1917 in North Carolina, USA. He played jazz, cool jazz, bebop and hard pop with angular melodic twists that made it unique. 'Round Midnight', 'Blue Monk', 'Straight', 'No Chaser', 'Ruby, My Dear', 'In Walked Bud', and 'Well, You Needn't' are some of the best of his music contributions. Most jazz artists consider him as one of their idols. The American jazz pianist and composer is a legend even today not just for his music and life story, but also his enthusiastic words. Read this article to find out some of the famous Thelonious monk quotes. Do read our articles on [Miles Davis quotes] and [jazz quotes] to get more insight into the jazz world.

Jazz Quotes

A popular jazz artist would definitely have some inspiring jazz quotes. If you are into jazz, then you must know of the great American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. Look at these quotes by the famous American jazz pianist we have curated for you.

1. “Jazz is freedom. You think about that.”

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

3. “Where’s jazz going? I don’t know. Maybe it’s going to hell. You can’t make anything go anywhere. It just happens.”

- Thelonious Monk

4. “Everybody in all countries tries to play jazz.”

- Thelonious Monk

5. "I always wanted to play the piano, and jazz appealed to me."

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

7. “Jazz is my adventure.”

- Thelonious Monk

8. “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

Quotes About Music

Music is a way to express your emotions. sometimes, music conveys the emotions which words fail to comprehend. It is a way to connect with others differently. Here we have a list of  Thelonious Monk quotes about musicians which we think you might find insightful:

Music brings melody in life.

9. “All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

10. “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

- Thelonious Monk

11. “The piano ain't got no wrong notes.”

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

14. “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

16. "All musicians stimulate each other. The vibrations get scattered around."

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

19. “I compose my pieces with a formula that I created myself.”

- Thelonious Monk

20. “All musicians are potential band leaders.”

- Thelonious Monk

21. “After two takes, you’re just imitating yourself.”

- Thelonious Monk

22. “It’s always night, or we wouldn’t need light.”

- Thelonious Monk

23. “Miles’d got killed if he hit me.”

- Thelonious Monk

24. “There are no wrong notes; some are just more right than others.”’

- Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk Quotes About Jazz And Black Culture

How can an all time famous jazz singer go without some impact?  Read these quotes by the famous American jazz pianist Thelomious monk. These Thelonious Monk quotes will definitely inspire you to look at life differently and find it's purpose:

Like music, rhythm is essential for life as well.

25.  “The loudest noise in the world is silence.”

- Thelonious Monk

26. “Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself.”

- Thelonious Monk

27. “Monk's reasons for dancing during a performance: "I get tired sitting down at the piano! That way I can dig the rhythm better.”

- Thelonious Monk

28. “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

29. ‘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.’

30. "I say, play your own way. Don't play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you're doing -- even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years."

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

33. “We have two kids, my wife and myself.”

- Thelonious Monk

34. “I never thought much about race.”

- Thelonious Monk

35. “I find my inspiration in myself.”

- Thelonious Monk

36. “The only cats worth anything are the cats who take chances. Sometimes I play things that I never heard myself.”

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

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

- Thelonious Monk

39. "If my own work had more importance than any others, it's because the piano is the key instrument in music."

- Thelonious Monk

40. “The only cats worth anything are the cats that take chances.”

- Thelonious Monk

41. “You’ve been making the wrong mistakes.”

- Thelonious Monk

42. “They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along and spoil it.”

- Thelonious Monk

43. “I’d go stupid collecting and counting my money.”

- Thelonious Monk

44. “I didn’t know there were two 10 o’clocks in a day.”

- Thelonious Monk

45. “Everyone is a genius at being themselves.”

- Thelonious Monk

Quotes From Other People About Thelonious Monk

A popular jazz artist can’t have fame if he or she doesn’t influence other people. One cannot think about jazz without mentioning the jazz panist and composer - Thelonious Monk. So read these quotes about Thelonious Monk that recognize his unique style of work.

46. “All I can say is, Monk writes some beautiful tunes. When it comes to being a piano player, I'll see you later.”

-Tommy Gumina, 1963

47. “That I like. That's Monk ... I think Monk has developed a certain thing. It's not the ordinary left hand like Teddy Wilson and a lot of piano players used to use; he's done something different.”

- George Wallington

48. “Unlike many piano players, I love Monk's playing very much. He was brought to my attention by Richard Abrams, a pianist in Chicago, and we used to analyse Monk's playing.…He has a lot of other devices for producing the "sound"…. No other piano player has done more to find out the notes that really produce sound than Monk. To completely toss him aside as a pianistic influence is an asinine view.”

-Jack Wilson

49. “Working with Monk is like falling down a dark elevator shaft.”

- John Coltrane

50. "There, my good man, is the guy (Monk) who deserves the most credit for starting be-bop. Though he won't admit it, I think he feels he got a bum break in not getting some of the glory that went to others. Rather than go out and have people think he's just an imitator, Thelonious is thinking up new things...”

- Teddy Hill

51. "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 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."

- John Coltrane

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Thelonious Monk quotes, then why not take a look at [black history inspirational quotes], or [funny music quotes].

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