25 jazz quotes

25 Jazz Quotes That Might Make You a Better Writer (and maybe a better person, too)

“You start with some statement, and you work it, and you go in different directions with it and so forth, but it’s not in any structured form. You sorta look for, you allow for, mistakes or accidents or things that will throw you into something that you didn’t count on getting into in the first place.” – Mose Allison

“I hear he’s ventured out into atonality. I don’t know if it’s proper atonality. I don’t know if he studied it. This world can be fooled so easily.” – Charles Mingus

“To be successful is to realize one’s self. I have known people like this. They have achieved a kind of self-realization. A kind of self-development. I think I have been able to achieve some of that myself. I’m not successful according to the usual yardstick. But I’ve manage to continue in the same direction without being distracted from what I’m trying to do.” – Danny Barker

“You know, there’s this mood about the music, a kind of need to be moving. You just can’t set it down and hold it. Those Dixieland musicianeers, they tried to do that; they tried to write the music down and kind of freeze it. Even when they didn’t arrange it to death, they didn’t have any place to send it; that’s why they lost it. You just can’t keep the music unless you move with it.” – Sidney Bechet

“You can’t make everyone sit still and feel the same way.” – Miles Davis

“Some people get so involved in trying to figure out what we’re doing that they don’t pay attention to their emotions.” – Ornette Coleman

“I was six years old then. I was a clean little bird; lots of things I didn’t know…. I wish I’d never found them out.” – Charlie Parker

“Bebop has set music back twenty years.” – Tommy Dorsey

“There is no money in swing music.” – Joe Bushkin

“If you’re not doing something new, then you might as well forget it.” – Buck Clayton

“But I can say this, sir, that Chick Webb is much better than whom and who and he’s good and he’s very, very good and he does everything there is to be done to a drum and he does it beautifully and sometimes he plays with such stupefying technique that he leaves you in a punch drunk stupor and ecstatically bewildered as this sentence has wound up to be.” – Davey Tough

“Yeah, you’re fast, but you’re not telling me any story.” – Chick Webb

“But the main thing is to play the right instrument. So many musicians go through their life on the wrong instrument. You hear guitarists who should be tenor players and pianists who should be trumpeters and drummers who should be out of music altogether.” – Red Norvo

“I see a kaleidoscope in my mind when I play. I look for holes in it to jump in and out of. But you can’t get too carried away – you might jump in one and never get back.” – Joe Bushkin

“Some nights people tell me I’ve played vicious, and they’re right. Maybe I’ve been thinking about thirty years of one-nighters or maybe about what a drag it was in the Marines. But the next night I’ll come to where I’m playing and say, ‘Sorry, little drums, I’ll be tender tonight.” – Buddy Rich

“I have no claim to being an angel.” – Pee Wee Russell

“I was strung out. I was hooked. I was drunk. I was having a hassle with my wife… I had marks on my arm. I thought there were narcs in the club… and now I had to put up or shut up or get off or forget it or quit or kill myself or do something. I forgot everything and everything came out. I played way over my head. I searched and found my own way, and what I said reached the people.” – Art Pepper

“I’m a strong believer in giving you enough rope to hang yourself. But that isn’t fun anymore. I’d rather encourage [young musicians] to be more proficient at their artistry, you know, and then I can be proud and say, ‘Well, I was a part of that.’ Rather than discourage them by just waxing them for real, which it can be done easy enough. But that’s not my goal. I like to see music survive and become more legible to the average listener so he’ll appreciate it and understand it more. That will give the little guys coming up – see, I only can play one job at a time, you know what I mean? So there’s room. In fact, it’s only crowded at the bottom. A lot of room on top.” – Sonny Stitt

“The trouble with most musicians today is that they are copycats. Of course you have to start out playing like someone else. You have a model, or a teacher, and you learn all that he can show you. But then you start playing for yourself. Show them that you’re an individual. And I can count those who are doing that today on the fingers of one hand.” – Lester Young

“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” – Charles Mingus

“Whenever you play dance music, it serves a function. It becomes a utility; you have to worry about the tempos and what you’re going to play for people. But when you’re playing for listening, you’re free.” – Stan Kenton

“It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.” – Dizzy Gillespie

“I’m into scales right now.” – John Coltrane

“The river starts like a spring and the story just came out. The river starts like a spring and he’s like a newborn baby, tumbling and spitting, and one day, attracted by a puddle, he starts to run. He scurries and scampers and wants to get to the marsh, and, after being followed by a big bubble, he does, and at the end of the run he goes into the meander. Then he skips and dances and runs until he’s exhausted, and he lies down by the lake – all horizontal lines, ripples, reflections, God-made and untouched. Then he goes over the falls and down into the whirlpool, the vortex of violence, and out of the whirlpool into the main track of the river. He widens, becomes broader, loses his adolescence, and down at the delta, passes between two cities. Like all cities on the opposite sides of the deltas, you can find certain things in one and not in the other, and vice versa, so we call the cities Neo-Hip-Hot-Cool Kiddies’ Community and the Village of the Virgins. The river passes between them and romps into the mother – Her Majesty The Sea – and, of course, is no longer a river. But this is the climax, the heavenly anticipation of rebirth, for the sea will be drawn up into the sky for rain and down into wells and into springs and become the river again. So we call the river an optimist. We’ll be able to play the ballet in any church or temple, because the optimist is a believer.” – Duke Ellington

“Man, if you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know.” – Louis Armstrong

–Louis Maistros


This entry was posted in hurricane season, jazz, new orleans, nola blogs, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 25 jazz quotes

  1. M Styborski says:

    What? Nothing from Paul Whiteman..?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s