(…)Steve Lacy, who played with Thelonious Monk, set down a list of Monk’s advice for the members of his combo. Here’s a selection:
- Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep time.
- Stop playing all those weird notes (that bullshit), play the melody!
- Make the drummer sound good.
- Don’t play the piano part, I’m playing that.
- Don’t play everything (or every time); let some things go by …
What you don’t play can be more important than what you do.
- When you’re swinging, swing some more.
- Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along and do it. A genius is the one most like himself.
- You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?
What I love about Monk’s list is his basic message about the importance of awareness, collaboration, and having clearly defined roles, which apply as much to basketball as they do to jazz.
I discovered early that the best way to get players to coordinate their actions was to have them play the game in 4/4 time. The basic rule was that the player with the ball had to do something with it before the third beat: either pass, shoot, or start to dribble.
When everyone is keeping time, it makes it
easier to harmonize with one another, beat by beat. (…)