I'm Tony Miceli, and I'm a vibe player in Philadelphia, Pa. I play, teach and I run

Friday, June 09, 2006

Monk was a terrible pianist and all those dissonant wrong notes sucked!

HEY HEY HEY CALM DOWN, that's not me saying this. I love Monk and I love the wrong notes!!! I love them alot.

I got an email from a local Philly singer Lou Lanza, and he sent me the link to a sight by a pianist Hans Groiner. Here he promotes his CD 'Hans Groiner Plays Monk'. Hans talks about Monk on the page.

Hans Groiner Says:

Although his music fascinated me, I had very mixed feelings. On the one hand, Mr. Monk had obvious talents, but on the other hand, his piano playing was very messy, and his songs had many funny notes and rhythms. Over the many years that I have been studying his music, I have grown to the conclusion that his songs would be much better, and much more popular, if many of the dissonances, or "wrong notes," were removed. With my new CD, "Hans Groiner Plays Monk," I have done just that.

Yikes! I guess he'll get lots of hits on his myspace page cause this is going to raise a storm. Go listen to his music and tell me what you think.

And on this page 'someone' names Geoffrey Keezer says:

Finally...someone has the guts to play Monk their OWN way. I never liked all those wrong notes anyway, and Monk was a shitty pianist really. It's really such a pleasure to listen to these tracks, like a breath of fresh Austrian spring mountain air. I sure hope you get a chance to perform at Dizzy's Club in Lincoln Center sometime. Keep up the good work! Your new fan, GK.

I wonder if this really IS the great pianist, Geoffrey Keezer.

Well what i heard I didn't dig at all. My feeling is I bet there are lots of people who DIDN'T dig monk. And to most of us I bet thoughts like this are not foreign.

I'm curious to hear from pianists. Would you consider his piano playing bad? I guess technically you wouldn't say he monster technique would you? I wouldn't really know except it hands don't look normal.

All I know is that I love Monk and think his music is incredible.


  • At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Okay, I'll admit up front that I completely love Monk and even object to the term "wrong" notes as applied to his music - did you ever see the Monk documentary "Straight No Chaser" and the amusing scene where Monk tells Charlie Rause, go ahead and play G natural or G sharp, either one you want - but I've got to say, the first thing that came to mind when I listened to those Groiner sample tunes is the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: like someone just gave Monk a lobotomy and left us with a vacantly grinning, drooling shell of the genius he once was.

    I found Hans Groiner's interpretations truly upsetting. But I do respect each artist's individual vision and would not want to discourage anyone's creativity. However, I'll stick to the real deal when it comes to listening to Monk.

    As far as Monk's technique as a pianist, I think he had exactly the technique he needed to say what he wanted to say.

    Monk on!

  • At 8:41 PM, Blogger Tony said…

    i think that's well put. i have this amazing friend that turned me onto bach. she changed my life after listening to hours of glenn gould. there's no room for mistakes in that music. but monk made a 'music' where mistakes didn't matter in the same way as other music. does that mean it's easy to play? NO, i had for fortune of playing in a band that did i think every monk tune. it was really difficult to play monk's music, it was NOT like playing the typical jazz standards.

    monk is amazing. i didn't dig that guys music either. it sounded like it went through some sort of machine to clear all the good stuff out.

    i was missing the 'wrong notes'.

  • At 1:02 PM, Anonymous jazzman said…

    As I point out in this post Hans Groiner is, of course, a spoof. And a funny one at that. The Stephen Colbert of jazz.

  • At 11:22 PM, Blogger Tony said…

    oh man oh man oh man. that is sooooooo great. i'm never fooled by the email spam and spoofs, but this one got me. i COULDN'T believe why keezer would trash monk.

    go me big time!!!

  • At 7:29 AM, Anonymous John Keene said…

    I play accordion as well as piano and vibes, and often as a gag I will play "the classics" with a polka beat on the accordion. Such as "The Star Wars Polka," or "Fur Elise Polka," etc., and people always crack up. These new age Monk interpretations are the same deal. They are really funny, and "Well, You Needn't" made me laugh out loud when he changed the G flat chord to a G major then put the Floyd Cramer lick in the middle of the first eight.

    I like this guy simply because he had the nerve to do it and challenge people's sense of humor. People claim that Monk played "wtong," but this guy actually plays Monk wrong on purpose to show us what playing Monk wrong actually sounds like!

  • At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Geoffrey always signs off his emails with "GK", so that may be him!

    Tom Marcello
    Manager / Joe Locke


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