first_imgThelonious Monk is a jazz legend. His skills as a songwriter, as a piano player, and as an improviser put him in the upper echelon of jazz icons. He is famous for infusing raw emotion into his playing, with lots of dissonance and percussive elements included in his playing. Perhaps most importantly, he also knew how to get the best out of his bandmates.Recently, the blog kottke.org published a photo of Monk’s instructions on how to play from a former bandmate, saxophonist Steve Lacy. Lacy wrote down a number of Monk’s instructions, and it’s fascinating to see the approach that a musician of Monk’s caliber uses when he played a show, and what he expected from his bandmates. Monk told Lacy “don’t play the piano part, I’m playing that. Don’t listen to me. I’m supposed to be accompanying you!” and “Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep time.” There’s some great stuff in there, such as “the inside of the tune (the bridge) is what makes the outside sound good”, and “whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself.” Timeless advice, to say the least.See below for the full list of instructions that Thelonious Monk gave to Steve Lacy.last_img