Writings about Music

Thelonious and Allen Reflect

Thelonious Monk and Allen Ginsberg

Photo by Jim Marshall

Some things are so simple we can scarcely believe we didn’t notice them before they were pointed out to us, like the chess moves of Bobby Fischer, who was famous for dazzling simple and pure thought transcending labyrinthine complexities.

Thelonious Monk was fond of pointing out one advantage of playing the piano (and its ancestors, the Indian santoor and Persian santur) for improvisation, namely the notes are right there in in front of you to see!

And Allen Ginsberg loved to explain how often times its simply best to relate what actually happened with poetry – using one’s poetic style, of course, while reflecting upon something that actually occurred in one’s life or imagination even in precise detail, not to mention super-magnified illumination.

Both these concepts are things I’ve taken to heart for piano improvisations and in writings about music.

Am I the first person to notice connections between Monk’s most famous song, Round About Midnight, and Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder?

- Michael Robinson, December 2019, Los Angeles


© 2019 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).