Pure Jazz Magazine is a semi annual magazine featuring in depth Jazz stories, interviews plus other information you may find interesting. Based in Brooklyn, USA for the world.
where you are coming from. For example, a bass player might hear bass lines first. He might hear a new composition, but the first part he hears is the bass line. So he writes a bass line and then he says, this is the drum part that will go with that, and now this melody will sit on top of that. Sometimes I will come up with a rhythm, and then I will come up with a bass line to go with that rhythm, and then I have some chords to go over that bass line, then maybe I have a melody, and then ultimately, there’s my composition. Sometimes, I may hear a melody first. Sometimes, I hear a chord progression. It comes all different kinds of ways. I just recently wrote a tune for you! With that one, the melody came first. But then I wrote a tune for your brother, and with that, the rhythm came first. So you never know where your inspiration is going to come from and I kind of like that because it keeps everything interesting. How are you coping with the changes in the record industry? Well you know that’s an easy question. The changes in the record industry really refer to the changes in the music business. There are some things that go to the issues of production and marketing, but those things are basically dependent on what’s happening in the marketplace. How things are being sold today. Used to be you went to the record store, now you run to a website or maybe social media to find out what’s going on. Advertising used to be in a newspaper or a magazine. Now, 70 percent of advertising is done on social media. In that regard, that’s ever changing. But in terms of the music changing itself, that’s the easiest area for a Jazz musician because we are in the business of ever changing music. I’m not looking. The objective of Jazz is to find something new constantly. So the fact of the matter is that most of the changes that you find musically, in popular music, come from Jazz. The basic ideas come from Jazz. This is why I say things, in regards to my father, such as “No Monk, No Funk”. The chords and the melodies that Thelonious brought to the table, that he made common, that he made familiar to everyone are the minor chords and the extended harmonics that you hear in funk. And had it not happened in Jazz, you wouldn’t have all this funky music. So for me, when the music changes, that’s a good thing. I’m looking for the music to constantly change. I don’t like to play a song Page 10 - Pure Jazz Magazine the same way twice; it has to be slightly different. I think for Jazz musicians, the actual changing music is never a threat. The music has been changing for me since day one. And it will always do that. And if I’m not embracing an ever changing musical landscape, then I’m not really living up to my full potential as a Jazz musician. That part of it is not a problem for me. I’m not tied to the trend. I’m not tied to what’s popular. The music that I create influences what’s popular, and not the other way around. Where can we find you? You can find me on Facebook, as Thelonious Monk Jr., and my TS Monk fan page. You can find me on YouTube. I’m creating two new websites, later on this year. One for myself and a centennial website for my father. I’m probably one of the most interviewed Jazz musicians so I have a paper trail, whether you’re talking The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. I’ve done a lot of work with Downbeat and Jazz Times. So I’m a pretty easy guy to find (laughs). I will be expanding my social media presence with a few more platforms including Instagram and Snapchat. I just set up a Twitter account as well. You know Jazz is very modern, very forward leaning so good Jazz musicians do not get caught up in the past. That’s not to say that there aren’t good Jazz musicians in the past, but my music isn’t confined to straight-ahead jazz. I try to do what I can to stay current and desirable to many different generations. I also spend a lot of time talking about my father. For the first 20 years, my interviews were probably 75 percent about my father and 25 percent about me. Then I did an album called Monk on Monk, and everyone was waiting to see if I was really Monk’s son and if I could handle this. I handled it so well that the dynamics of my interviews changed and the focus became TS Monk. I got a lot to say, I just did a couple of very well received blogs for The Huffington Post, which has inspired me to start podcasting, so look out for that soon. And of course, I have my association with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, of which I have been the Chairmen for 28 years. We are the largest non-profit Jazz educational organization, and that gives me high visibility as well. So, (laughs) I ain’t hard to find at all. I’m a very social guy. Anything else you’d like to share with your fans? I would like to inform everyone that Jazz is extraordinarily healthy; the rumors of Jazz death are highly exaggerated. Yes, the market has been shrinking in one way, but it also has been expanding in quite another way. There are a number of incredible young Jazz musicians, right now, who will come to the floor in the future. I think they’re going to make a lot of noise. In the 1980’s, we had a policy in the American educational system called austerity. That was my generation, the baby boomers. We took all of the arts out of the schools. Since 1995 we got religion and we decided, hey our kids need art. The interesting thing about music coming back to the schools is that this generation, Gen X and beyond, is not interested in Beethoven and Mozart, and all of the Euro-classical artists. So what you find in the high school level, music departments nationwide are taking on Jazz as the preferred discipline for music. So we have a whole new generation of Jazz musicians and listeners that will create a whole new audience for Jazz and Jazz will be very, very healthy. We at the Monk Institute have “International Jazz Day”, which involves 196 countries, the virtual civilized world. There is no other musical genre on the planet that is played in every single country in the world. I will submit to you that in certain countries, if you play Michael Jackson, you might get your head cut off, because they don’t want to hear that kind of “Devil Music” (laughs) but Jazz is the most human. Our rule is that everyone has something to say and the world really likes that. Jazz is alive and well and it’s really growing and I think that the future for Jazz is spectacular. By Sierre Monk TS Monk
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