Mary Lou Williams on how Thelonious Monk’s playing style, and even his image was stolen.
"I considered myself lucky having men like Monk and Bud playing me the things they had composed. And I have always upheld and had faith in the boppers, for they originated something but looked like losing credit for it. Too often have I seen people being chummy with creative musicians, then — when the people have dug what is happening — put down the creators and proclaim themselves king of jazz, swing or whatever. So the boppers worked out a music that was hard to steal. I’ll say this for the ‘leeches’, though: they tried. I’ve seen them in Minton’s busily writing on their shirt cuffs or scribbling on the tablecloth. And even our own guys, I’m afraid, did not give Monk the credit he had coming. Why, they even stole his idea of the beret and bop glasses."
Pictured is Mary Lou Williams and Thelonious Monk. On the far left is Marian McPartland. The picture was taken at the gathering for the ‘A Great Day in Harlem' photo by Art Kane.
The quote is from a transcribed Mary Lou Williams interview from Melody Maker in 1954. It’s well worth the read. (Source)