Monk was once asked if his hat was influential in the way he played. He said: “No!… Yes!… I don’t know!”. The answer is hard to understand because the question is hard to understand too. It’s a package thing.
But now, let’s say that Monk likes to work on wood and make furniture. Let’s assume that. Do you think his hobby would affect his playing? You’re not sure. All right, I’ll give you another one. What if Monk was a dad? Huh?! Do you think it would affect his music? The answer has moved closer to yes. I see. And how about if Monk is Indian, Indian from Mumbai for example. Do you think that background would affect his music? Now we are definitely in the “yes!” territory.
It’s the same for the hat. Only with degrees. Different things affect us differently. The country we are born into will affect us much more than a clothe accessory. But everything count. The music of the 50’s is not the same as the one of the 60’s. Time period has a huge influence on us. Fashion too. Mozart got affected by the Turkish mode that was raging in Vienna when he was there. Mozart wrote some pieces “a la Turk!” Is it still Mozart music? Of course! But was he influenced? Absolutely!
So, what moves us? Well, you see, when you are talking about that, you are talking about art. And art doesn’t exist. It’s a straight line on a blank canvas. It’s a poem with 6 words. It’s Picasso’s cubism, it’s the cathedral of France, it’s the pyramid of Egypt. It’s a figment of our imagination vibrating in sympathy with a piece of data (How cold! How awful!). It doesn’t exist but inside us, and yet it is everything.
So, let’s go back to what moves us. A hat?! No!… Yes!… I don’t know!… Monk knew the answer. Good ol’ Monk!