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Thelonious Monk

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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.
Interview in Down Beat magazine (28 October 1971)

Thelonious Monk

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Mike Nichols: Interviewer: Are you going to the afterparty? Nichols: I don't know, is there another party, after the party? Interviewer: Yeah. After your dinner. Nichols: I didn't know that. I don't think I'm invited. Interviewer: Do you listen to M.I.A.? Nichols: Yes! [at MoMA "Party in the Garden" 2008]


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

Do you think that a monk is your sweeper who will keep sweeping your mind for you day after day? He may clean your mind once; after that it is up to you to keep it clean. If you don't have any motivation, what can a monk do? Can a holy man erase your past impressions, or do you think he will carry you to the Lord on his shoulders? He will show you the path, but you will have to walk it yourself. That is the only way to reach God.

Swami Adbhutananda

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.

Thelonious Monk

There was left only the monk to provide for, whom Gargantua would have made Abbot of Seville, but he refused it. He would have given him the Abbey of Bourgueil, or of Sanct Florent, which was better, or both, if it pleased him ; but the monk gave him a very peremptory answer, that he would never take upon him the charge nor government of monks. For how shall I be able, said he, to rule over others, that have not full power and command of myself: If you think I have done you, or may hereafter do you any acceptable service, give me leave to found an abbey after my own mind and fancy.

Francois Rabelais
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