THELONIOUS MONK ON HOW TO PLAY A GIG, PART 2

            More guidance from the great jazz pianist that also applies to anyone working on a film set…

            Discrimination is important.

            Monk isn’t referencing a racial issue, evil as we know that to be.  He’s referring to the exercise of taste.  It’s the deciding factor in any artistic pursuit, the thing that separates the good from the bad.  For him it might’ve meant playing certain chords a certain way or knowing when to remain silent.  For us, it could mean choosing between shadows or highlights.  Competent cinematographers work with the same tools to deliver professional-grade images.  What sets them apart is how they use them to express their taste, which is as peculiar to each as their own handwriting.  This sort of assessment should be developed and refined at every turn.

            You’ve got to dig it to dig it, dig?

            You have to like what you’re doing enough to understand it, understand?  And when you truly understand, the benefits will spread to everyone.  Become an expert, a master of your profession.  Give it your best.  If you’re just going through the motions you’re wasting everyone’s time.

            All reet!

            This bit of jazz age slang is an affirmation meaning, ‘alright,’ ‘it’s cool, ‘good,’ ‘proper,’ ‘excellent.’

            But in this context Monk is expressing something more.  Enthusiasm!  Action!  Effervescence!  Energy!  Life!  Inspiration!  Fervor!  Bring everything you have and leave it all on the stage – or set, as the case may be!

            Always know…  Monk – – –

            Look alive!  Be wise! Be engaged!  Grow…don’t stagnate!  Be a student – not just of the profession but of life.  Just listen to how Monk developed throughout his career.  Even if you can’t put your feelings into words, you’ll come away knowing that he knew… 

8.24.2021

2 thoughts on “THELONIOUS MONK ON HOW TO PLAY A GIG, PART 2”

  1. I feel like I can apply his words to architecture
    and life in general.
    Always know… keep learning, keep your mind open, and
    live life to its fullest…

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