I don't know where it's going. Maybe it's going to hell. You can't make anything go anywhere. It just happens.
When questioned as to the future of jazz, as quoted in Jet magazine (31 March 1960), p. 30
Interviewer: What other interests do you have?
Monk: Life in general.
Interviewer: What do you do about it?
Monk: Keep breathing.
Interviewer: What do you think the purpose of life is?
Monk: To die.
Monk enters the studio and starts playing, the rest of the musicians join him. After few minutes of play the technician from his room shouts and stops the band.]
Monk: "Why did we stop?"
Technician: "I thought you were rehearsing."
Monk: "Aren't we always?"
Working with Monk brought me close to a musical architect of the highest order. I felt I learned from him in every way — through the senses, theoretically, technically. I would talk to Monk about musical problems, and he would sit at the piano and show me the answers just by playing them. I could watch him play and find out the things I wanted to know. Also, I could see a lot of things that I didn't know about at all.