While hanging with an old friend Saturday night before his gig, we started talking about Monk. My homeboy's keyboard was set up and his trumpet was pressed into his hotel room bed; he had obviously been rehearsing earlier that evening. After awhile I asked him "What makes Monk so great?" He didn't answer me immediately, but sort of recoiled in thought, then walked over to the keyboard and played a flawless rendition of Monk's "Just a Gigolo." He explained to me what was going on musically, though using no more than 10 words or so. He mostly asked me to listen. After that, I felt like the top of my head had flown off; my ears finally opened. I even felt like my vision had improved!
Needless to say, I spent all Sunday listening to Monk Alone: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings of Thelonious Monk.