Jazz is an intensified feeling of nonchalance
If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know
One of the things I like about jazz, kid, is I don’t know what’s going to happen next.
I like to sleep. There is no set time of day for sleep. You sleep when you’re tired, that’s all there is to it.
I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.
I hate straight singing, I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it, that’s all I know.
It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.
Wrong is right.
I’d been getting bored with the stereotyped changes that were being used all the time. I found that by using the higher intervals of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes I could play the thing I’d been hearing..I came
Life is a lot like jazz… it’s best when you improvise
The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen
Jazz is the music of the body
I don’t have a definition of jazz…You’re just supposed to know it when you hear it.
Jazz is rhythm and meaning
By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with
Don’t threaten me with love, baby; let’s just go walking in the rain
It’s like a language. You learn the alphabet, which are the scales. You learn sentences, which are the chords. And then you talk extemporaneously with the horn. It’s a wonderful thing to speak extemporaneously, which is something I’ve never gotten the
hang of. But musically I love to talk just off the top of my head. And that’s what jazz music is all about.
At this time the fashion is to bring something to jazz that I reject. They speak of freedom. But one has no right, under pretext of freeing yourself, to be illogical and incoherent by getting rid of structure and simply piling a lot of notes one on top of the other. There’s no beat anymore. You can’t keep time with your foot. I believe that what is happening to jazz with people like Ornette Coleman, for instance, is bad. There’s a new idea that consists in destroying everything and find what’s shocking and unexpected; whereas jazz must first of all tell a story that anyone can understand
But you listen to Coltrane and that’s something human, something that’s about elevation. It’s like making love to a woman. It’s about something of value, it’s not just loud. It doesn’t have that violent connotation to it. I wanted to be a jazz musician so bad, but I really couldn’t. There was no way I could figure out to learn how to play.
I don’t know where jazz is going. Maybe it’s going to hell. You can’t make anything go anywhere. It just happens.
Finally Beiderbecke took out a silver cornet. He put it to his lips and blew a phrase. The sound came out like a girl saying ‘yes’
There is no art without intention
This is so nice, it must be illegal
What I came back to is that jazz is a music to be played and not to be intellectualised on
A jazz musician is not a jazz musician when he or she is eating dinner or when he or she is with his parents or spouse or neighbors. He’s above all a human being . . . the true artform is being a human being
Put it this way: jazz is a good barometer of freedom
Forgive me if I don’t have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you’ll understand
My life is music, and in some vague, mysterious and subconscious way, I have always been driven by a taut inner spring which has propelled me to almost compulsively reach for perfection in music, often — in fact, mostly — at the expense of everything else in my life.
At a time when individualism is becoming an endangered species, jazz represents a celebration of the individual
Life is not about finding our limitations, it’s about finding our infinity
Sometimes I wish I could walk up to my music for the first time, as if I had never heard it before. Being so inescapably a part of it, I’ll never know what the listener gets, what the listener feels, and thats too bad.
There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind
Some people try to get very philosophical and cerebral about what they’re trying to say with jazz. You don’t need any prologues, you just play. If you have something to say of any worth then people will listen to you
Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time
Sustained intensity equals ecstacy
Overall, I think the main thing a musician would like to do is give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things that he knows of and senses in the universe. . . That’s what I would like to do. I think that’s one of the greatest things you can do in life and we all try to do it in some way. The musician’s is through his music
Some guys dig ditches, I have a band. It’s what I do.
As long as there is democracy, there will be people wanting to play jazz because nothing else will ever so perfectly capture the democratic process in sound. Jazz means working things out musically with other people. You have to listen to other musicians
and play with them even if you don’t agree with what they’re playing.
There are four qualities essential to a great jazzman. They are taste, courage, individuality, and irreverence. These are the qualities I want to retain in my music.
This is my dilemma. I’m a guy who makes things up as I go along so nothing is ever finished – there are so many layers. So when you solo, yeah, you might get into one thing, but then, hey, everything has implications! You can hear the next level. And that’s how I feel about improvising-there’s always another level.
We’re not like pop musicians who have to perform the same top ten tunes every night of a tour.
All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.
I have to admit that more and more lately, the whole idea of jazz as an idiom is one that I’ve completely rejected. I just don’t see it as an idiomatic thing any more…To me, if jazz is anything, it’s a process, and maybe a verb, but it’s not a thing. It’s a form that demands that you bring to it things that are valuable to you, that are personal to you. That, for me, is a pretty serious distinction that doesn’t have anything to do with blues, or swing, or any of these other things that tend to be listed as essentials in order for music to be jazz with a capital J
Jazz is there and gone. It happens. You have to be present for it. That simple.
I don’t need words — it’s all in the phrasing
Don’t bullshit… just play
I’ve found you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.
Jazz is not background music. You must concentrate upon it in order to get the most of it. You must absorb most of it. The harmonies within the music can relax, soothe, relax, and uplift the mind when you concentrate upon and absorb it. Jazz music
stimulates the minds and uplifts the souls of those who play it was well as of those who listen to immerse themselves in it. As the mind is stimulated and the soul uplifted, this is eventually reflected in the body
It’s a shame that jazz is now being turned into dried fruit. It’s becoming quantified, diced and defined. It’s becoming an idiom. To me if it’s anything, jazz is a verb – it’s more like a process than it is a thing.
It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing
Master your instrument, master the music, and then forget all that bullshit and just play
Art is constant tension and release. That is where artists live, between the two, or at times, submerged in either. The challenge is never ending perfection is impossible, it could always be different, better, or worse. It’s not important, just process and
striving to be like the man who walks the trapeze maintaining balance.
Jazz is music made by and for people who have chosen to feel good in spite of conditions
If someone has been escaping reality, I don’t expect him to dig my music.
Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz
It’s only a word. What’s in a name? Nothing! Cats say, “Call me Muhammed so-and-so.” But what’s the difference? A name doesn’t make the music. It’s just called that to differentiate it from other types of music.
I’d like to play for you one of my compositions, my only composition
I cannot say what I think is right about music. I only know the rightness of it
When you hear music, after it’s over, it’s gone, in the air, you can never capture it again
Don’t clap, I’m not a jazz band for Christ’ sake
If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats
Composition by Charles Mingus