While I am featuring this album, Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Himself, I just want to talk about the greatness of Jazz, or what makes Jazz musicians great.
I love Monk, and among his albums, this Thelonious Himself is one of the best. The main reason is that when you listen to this album from the start to the end, you feel his life, a story, sad side of Monk, sunny side of Monk and so on, as if you were sitting inside his head.
And in the last song, I really love the way Coltrane and Wilbur Ware come in to play their part, not at the front, just subtle to support Monk's piano. What a beauty!
I really believe and think that "greatness" doesn't come from the technique. There is more than that. What makes Monk a great Jazz pianist is coming from how he lived and how he faced his music. Every tone he makes with his piano is a piece of his life.
You know back in those days, most of the Jazz musicians were living in a harsh environment in many ways. In stead of speaking out with words, they spoke out with their music. That is why you feel their spirit, energy, cry and joy in their music.
One of the pioneers of Jazz Kissa (Japanese style Jazz Cafe) Mr. Shoji Sugawara once said,
There is no Jazz Music, there are only Jazzy people.
What a great phrase!
Monk surely was one of the Jazzy people, and all those legendary Jazz giants as well.
Unfortunately, most of the musicians nowadays are not Jazzy...They have the technique, but I don't feel the spirit, and energy. Maybe because how they live and face the music is quite different from those Jazz giants back in those days...
I always wish some young ones would become Jazzy again.