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Well You Needn’t

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“Well You Needn’t” is a tune written by Thelonius Monk in 1944. It was written for one of Monk’s students, a singer named Charlie Beamon. Monk wrote the tune and told Beamon he was going to name it after him, to which he replied “Well You Needn’t.” This tune utilizes the use of dominant chords moving chromatically.

A very important note: There are two sets of different changes to the bridge on this tune. There is Thelonius Monk’s original changes which go:
Db7/ /D7/ /Eb7E7/Eb7/D7Db7/C7B7/C7 /

And the changes that Miles Davis made popular which are:
G7/ /Ab7/ /A7Bb7/B7Bb7/A7Ab7/G7C7.

Miles Davis’s version has become more popular to play in jam session situations. The reasons for this are partly because of Miles Davis’s popular influence on the jazz scene, but also younger generations have looked to the Real Book to learn tunes which includes those changes. It is very important to know both sets of changes. You may encounter musicians that play both of them. Our chord charts include both versions.

Videos to learn the melody/changes

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Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. There is an error above in Monk's original chord changes of the bridge. You have written:
    Db7/ /D7/ /Eb7E7/Eb7/D7Db7/C7B7/C7 /

    I presume that it should be:

    Db7/ /D7/ /Eb7E7/Eb7D7/Db7C7/B7C7 /

  2. The chords in Monk’s original recording don’t sound like dominant 7ths to me, but rather like major chords, or perhaps more precisely, major triads that sometimes have added tones, such as ninths in the bridge, major sixths in the third, fourth and sixth measures of the A-section or even a major seventh in the fifth measure of the A-section (in the left hand during the theme; most of the time however, he doesn’t seem to be playing sevenths in the chord voicings).

    Also, Monk’s first name is spelled “Thelonious” (with ‘ou’).


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