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Mingus on Monk

Q & A with a Jazz Master

By Janet Coleman

Mingus   Monk

The following exchange with the late bassist, bandleader and composer, Charles Mingus, about the late pianist, bandleader and composer, Thelonius Monk, took place at Bradley's, the legendary jazz club on University Place in New York's Greenwich Village, in the summer of 1974. With a connoisseur's concentration, Mingus was preparing to smoke a Havana cigar.

Do you ever talk to Monk?

I saw him at a concert in Boston. I said about four words.

Do you feel friendly towards Monk?

I love him. I didn't talk to him.

Is Monk crazy?

Crazy. Like a wolf. Like a fox.

Then, having unwrapped, squeezed, sniffed, rolled, licked, and listened to the sound of the tobacco, Mingus lit up, inhaled, tasted, pondered, nodded, and blew the first puff of smoke from the cigar.

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