“These Foolish Things” Thelonious Monk

As soon as I woke up this morning (October 10, 2018) at five-something, I turned on the radio—I mean via my computer, New York radio station WKCR—because today is my favorite holiday of the year, Thelonious Monk's birthday, and they are playing his music all day, non-stop (as they do with a lot of jazz artists). If this was “Name That Tune” I would have gotten it within maybe five notes on the piano, the song “These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)”—one of my favorite standards, and this Monk solo piano rendition is one of my favorite versions. Since I have no idea who wrote this song, I looked it up—it's Eric Maschwitz (lyrics) and Jack Strachey (music)—not names I'm familiar with—I guess I never looked this up before. The copyright is 1936. It's been recorded by everyone—from Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan—but I first became a big fan of the song because of the Frank Sinatra version that was on one of the albums my parents had that I listened to a lot, which I later recorded on a cassette tape and carried around with me through life. I'm not even going to look up how many versions Thelonious Monk recorded, but this one (that I believe was on his record Solo Monk (1965)) is really nice. I don't know if he's feeling it or not—if he's thinking about the lyrics, if he's missing someone—or if he's just feeling the music, or if it's a math problem, or if he's faking it and he's he's thinking about the sandwich he's going to get at the deli after the session—you kind of think he had to be putting something into it, emotionally—but then he's a magician to some extent—and a mysterious human being—and I guess what really counts is that I hear it now and it sounds alive.