Jazzy Quotes!

Science dropped by Martini & Jopparelli. Aug-25-2010

I am really into short and sharp sentences or phrases. Quotes can be in general humorous, introspective, smart, hilarious, inspirational etc…but when the quote comes from a musician, I definitely choose something related with the music. In fact, I don’t expect anything else from a performer, except his feeling about what he plays and the music in general. Let’s see what we can learn from four great jazz players…

Sonny Rollins Alfie's Theme 1973

Sonny Rollins

Quote 1: If you could do that, it’s great to do it. And a lot of great musicians have done it. A lot of musicians get to a point and stay in that groove all of their career. I have just not been able to do it because I don’t think I’m a good enough musician. Someone was criticizing Miles, and Miles said, ‘The truth is, it’s much more difficult for me to play the way I did in 1947. It’s really a physical thing. Sure, I like to experiment, but it’s really a physical element.’ He brought up a good point. That kind of playing, you’ve got to be young, in a way. It demands a certain youthful vigor.

Quote 2: As the years went by and jazz got more popular and social conditions changed, you were able to have jazz as a topic introduced into the music curriculum in universities, … I think that one thing that hip-hop and jazz have in common is that they are both coming out of the minority subculture and we’ve faced some of the same problems. They are attacked in different ways . . . but they are a minority in a majority culture, so they are unfortunately discriminated against by the larger portion of the majority community,

Oscar Peterson – Boogie Blues Etude

Oscar Peterson

Quote 1: The music field was the first to break down racial barriers, because in order to play together, you have to love the people you are playing with, and if you have any racial inhibitions, you wouldn’t be able to do that.

Quote 2: 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.

Bill Evans-My Foolish Heart

Bill Evans

Quote 1: Technique is the ability to translate your ideas into sound through your instrument. This is a comprehensive technique . . . a feeling for the keyboard that will allow you to transfer any emotional utterance into it. What has to happen is that you develop a comprehensive technique and then say, forget that. I’m just going to be expressive through the piano.

Quote 2: It’s performing without any really set basis for the lines and the content as such emotionally or, specifically, musically. And if you sit down and contemplate what you’re going to do, and take five hours to write five minutes of music, then it’s composed music. Therefore I would put it in the classical or serious, whatever you want to call it, written-music category. So there’s composed music and there’s jazz. And to me anybody that makes music using the process that we are using in Jazz, is playing Jazz.


Charles Mingus

Quote 1: Good jazz is when the leader jumps on the piano, waves his arms, and yells. Fine jazz is when a tenorman lifts his foot in the air. Great jazz is when he heaves a piercing note for 32 bars and collapses on his hands and knees. A pure genius of jazz is manifested when he and the rest of the orchestra runaround the room while the rhythm section grimaces and dances around their instruments.

Quote 2: Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

Tired of reading? Get this nice-n-smooth jazz mix!