Two things about Thelonious Monk and inspired by Dr. Seuss.

(One night in the year 2000 I was listening to Theolonious Monk and reading Dr. Seuss….)


Smoke up and curled and
furled ‘round the piano man
chording, sorting, courting a melody.
By a bare bulbed light a sax man glistened,
blows low, something slow, out of flow.
I said so.
Man at the bar says “No no no—
Just listen!
He’s not missin’ the rhythm!
He’s with ‘em.  Always was, ‘cus
the music is there in the air…”

I disagreed.
Oh c’mon—there’s sound all around,
And noise…

“And notes and chords and music, man—
It’s like math or philosophy, doncha see?”

Oh man he’s swacked…
but I asked
you mean all abstract?

“No no jack!
The sounds are real,
a sound you can feel…”
Then he reeled and faded.
I waited.

Drank scotch.  Watched.

Piano man hummed loud as he played.  Weird cat.
I liked his hat.

We left it at that.

My friend came to.
“Bartender, another for me here and my brother”.
I asked for one for the piano playing cat.
“He likes his hat”
Bartender eyes:  wise guys.
We drank.

I walked up the drink.
Piano man nodded,
playing shards of melody from tunes long forgotten.
Some Tin Pan Alley, a nuclear blues.
The sax somehow came in on cue
Leaving me in the dark—
(or was it the booze?)
He looked up.
I said
I like your hat.
He said “Thank you”,
and that was that.

When suddenly the music fell into place,
filling out space,
a melody parsed is a melody whole
and it all became so misterioso….

Just like the drunk had said.

Blue Monk

Blue Monk
and I’m drunk–
What you gonna do?
Lissen to that piano,
the guy in the hat,
he’ll dance,
he’s in a trance…
That’s blue blue blue
Monk to you.
And I’m drunk, too.
Blow man blow, blow that ax.
Bass man’s walking, talking
to the drummer
who chatters back
on the ride.
Hey Bartender! Another!
and something on the side.
Lissen to that piano man,
that arpeggio–
hey where’d you go?
I’m talking to you!
That’s Blue Monk up there!
And I’m drunk, too.


(That was the last time I mixed Thelonious Monk, Theodore Geisel and Thurlow Weed.)

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