Well You Needn't (2:58)

Cover of Genius of Modern Music, Volume 1

From Genius of Modern Music, Volume 1 and 133 other releases

“Well You Needn’t” is a jazz standard composed by Thelonious Monk in 1944. Like another Monk standard, “Epistrophy”, it is notable for a chord sequence in which the root note moves by semitones.

There is some disagreement about the chord progression in the bridge. On many club dates and jam sessions, musicians play the tune as it was transcribed in the original Real Book:
G7 | G7 | Ab7 | Ab7 | A7 Bb7 | B7 Bb7 | A7 Ab7 | G7 C7 |

The wide proliferation of the Real Book makes this progression the de facto standard for the bridge. The “New Real Book” shows alternate bridge chords:

Db9 | Db9 | D9 | D9 | Eb9 E9 | Eb9 D9 | Db9 C9 | B9 C7 |

These could be considered tritone substitution chords for the most part.

Aside from Monk’s recordings, versions have been recorded by Miles Davis (on his album Steamin’), Herbie Hancock, and many others. Mike Ferro wrote lyrics for the song in the 1970s.

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