THELONIOUS MONK ON HOW TO PLAY A GIG, PART 4

            …in which I continue to interpret the great jazz pianist’s rules – for use by cinematographers.

            The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.

            There are no insignificant shots.  Nothing you do exists in a vacuum.  From the smallest insert to the sweeping vista, every shot is a part of the whole; its effect depends on what comes before and after.  Shots shouldn’t be made up on the fly.  Solid structure forgives a multitude of sins.

            Don’t play everything (or every time); let some things go by.  Some music just imagined.  What you don’t play can be more important than what you do.

            As always, less is more.  Serve the story!  Don’t show off!  Avoid turning a snack into a banquet.  Give the audience some credit…you don’t have be obvious in every little detail.  Sometimes what you leave in the shadows is more important than what you place in the light.  The same applies for what you choose not to put in the frame.

            Always leave them wanting more.

            As an employee, make yourself indispensible!  As an artist, ‘no’ is an acceptable response.

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

Monk is addressing yet another form of discrimination – the type that understands the difference between this and that.   Everything in existence begins with a thought.  Thought originates in imagination.  Set yours free!   Develop your ability to discern and assess.  Use your taste!

9.7.2021

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