I thought there was fantastic stuff in there and I've picked out a few of the lines to focus on in this post. Some of the advice echoes things I've talked in the past (much to my delight!) and some of it really got me thinking. In no particular order, here are some of my favourites:
Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time.
Oh so true! And this was quite prescient of Monk because it became ever more true as time passed. As the role of the bass and drums has continued to expand beyond keeping time and hitting roots on downbeats, the responsibility for keeping time has moved equally to all members of the group.
Also, even if the drummer is playing straight-ahead swing, if you aren't taking responsibility for your own time you'll find yourself pulling or pushing against the beat and if that's unintentional it won't sound good.
Look out for a future post with tips on how to take responsibility and get good time.
Make the drummer sound good.
This fits in with both the previous and the following advice. Having good time frees up the drummer and lets him join in the improvisation because he's not restricted by your shortcomings.
Allowing the rest of the band space to accompany, punctuate and get involved in creating your solo will really help the group sound great. And you can start to do that if you...
Don't play everything (or every time); Let some things go by. Some music [is] just imagined.
Ah, the old problem of overplaying. I wrote a series of posts about this so I won't go into any more detail here, but you can read the first post on that topic here
The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.
I had never thought of that. I often wondered why some tunes had bridges that I didn't like as much the other sections. This advice made me realise that often, particularly in an 'AABA' structure, the role of the bridge is to provide contrast to keep the listener's interest and reinforce the strength of the 3 'A' sections.
This is why bridges modulate a lot and can be very different in feel to the other sections. A definite 'Ah-ha' moment for me!
Stay in shape! Sometimes a musician waits for a gig and when it comes, he's out of shape and can't make it.
This is just great advice. Gigs can be tough to get these days, especially good ones and it can be easy to get disheartened and take your foot off the pedal in the practice room.
However, you never know what's around the corner and you've got to be ready when the right opportunity presents itself - it always does in the end.
What should we wear tonight? Sharp as possible.
Many musicians dress for their gigs like they're going to the supermarket. It has become cool to look like you don't care about what you look like, but I'm increasingly of the belief that if we want to start attracting people back to live jazz gigs then we're going to have to think about how we present ourselves.
If you want to know what not to do then simply read the Definitive PlayJazz guide.
A genius is the one most like himself.
Yes, yes, yes! All my favourite players have unique musical identities and an individual approach to the music that sets them apart. There are thousands of great players who have all the chops and all the vocabulary but never evolve their own sound.
They tried to get me to hate white people, but somebody would always come along and spoil it.
It's as important in music as it is in life to continually question what you're told. Just because people tell you something, doesn't mean it's true - even if everyone is saying it.