Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cool Quotes From Musicians

Please feel free to add your own favourite quotes using the comment box.


Blogger ben blackmore said...

Quotes from musicians and other sources:

I don’t necessarily agree with all of these statements, but find them all interesting perspectives on music. They don’t necessarily tie in with a “musical philosophy” or any of that. I picked them because they sound inspiring, contain interesting ideas, and in some cases just because they’re funny. I've collected them over the years from conversations with other musicians, reading books and magazines, posting requests on internet forums and so on. I must point out that I accept no responsibility for insult or injury sustained when following the advice of any of these people.

Newest quotes are at the bottom of the page.

“ You have to know 400 notes that you can play, then pick the right four.”- Miles.

“ The reason I don’t play ballads anymore is because I love playing ballads so much.”- Miles to Keith Jarrett.

It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note - it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong. - Miles.

“ I’ve been electrocuted so many times now. It’s quite a buzz actually!”- Keith Richards.

“ The things I'm after musically are clarity, emotional communication on a not-too-obvious level, the kind of form in a chorus that doesn't hit you over the head but is there if you look for it, humor, and construction that sounds logical in an unexpected way. That and a good, dependable high F-sharp and I'll be happy.”- Paul Desmond.

“ I can’t understand why people would want to play scales when they could be playing a tune.”-Pat Metheny on practising.

“ After we’d settled down a bit, songs started coming out. I don’t write them, I wait for them to come to me. I think they all floated through the air, and if you were alert enough or around at the right time of day, you’d sit down with an instrument and you’d pick up one or two. As long as the antenna’s up, they can transmit.”- Keith Richards.

“ Don’t play the first thing that comes into your head: play the second.”- Miles.

“ See, if you put a musician in a place where he has to do something different from what he does all the time, then he can do that-but he’s got to think differently in order to do it. I’ve always told the musicians in my band to play what they know, and then play above that. Because then anything can happen, and that’s where great art and music happens.”- Miles.

“ I am much more than a guitarist: I am a man. Before everything I feel that I am a man. And possibly a good man. I always say that my life has been a line without interruption, ascending always. I gave my life to the guitar.”- Segovia.

“ There are no wrong notes in jazz: only notes in the wrong places.”- Miles.

“ Guitar players seem so clannish: they only listen to each other. I really don’t care about the guitar. I mean, I’m glad I chose it, but I’m interested in making music.”- Jimmy Raney.

“ I’d tell Trane to begin in the middle because that’s the way his head worked anyway.”- Miles.

“ My stage fright was less than my wish to do well”. - Segovia.

“ I worked out the concept that every minute of my life was valuable. So if I got the chance to play with Art Tatum or Roy Eldridge, I made the time, even if I didn’t get much sleep.”- Les Paul.

“ I don’t think too many people on 11 September listened to J-Lo or Britney Spears for comfort and solace. The world of manufactured pop music almost seemed like an insult.”- Moby.

“ I think the most important thing about playing is to walk out with confidence and look the people right in the eye. As soon as they know you’re confident, they’re confident.”- Les Paul.

“ John used to tell me how to listen to the music, so that I could get the most out of it. He would say things to me like,“You listen to a song, five times, Cecilia. Listen to it instrument by instrument. Play that song and listen to the bass all the way through. Listen to it again and listen to the saxophone.”- Cecilia Foster (Frank Foster’s wife) on John Coltrane.

“ The words themselves on Kid A are kind of empty because they’re leaving room for the music.”- Thom Yorke.

“ As water is a fish's element and the air a bird's, music was Django's.”- Charles Delauney.

“ He who is impatient mostly arrives at his goals late. Step by step is the only way.”- Segovia.

“ I hate the way he writes. I kind of like the way he lives, though.”- Paul Desmond on Jack Kerouac.

"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." - Charlie Parker.

“ I believe simplicity is the greatest, but it’s the toughest thing to get sometimes”. - Les Paul.

“ The musicians were giving me tunes with chords all the time, and at that time I didn’t want to play them. The music was too thick.”- Miles.

“ I finally decided writing was like playing jazz-it can be learned, but not taught.”- Paul Desmond.

“ See the beauty of uncarved wood. See the beauty of raw silk.”- Laotse.

“ All the sounds of the guitar are feminine because it’s very soft and very, very delicate. They arrive with such subtlety that it is almost impossible to hear it. It is as if you thought of that sound rather than heard it.”- Segovia.

“ I was transported to a place that I’d been willing myself to be in for months on end. I’d finally made the transition. Now you might only be in that place for three minutes and forever more life will never be as good. But that’s fine by me.”- Thom Yorke.

“ Hang on to your eccentricities, because they will give you a style.”- John Scofield.

“ When a man’s faith is never tried, I don’t think he’ll ever learn anything. You have to have trial and tribulation, or what are you going to learn?”- McCoy Tyner.

“ Sometimes a producer is someone who just creates the right atmosphere for things to happen.”- Thom Yorke.

“ I don’t really see myself as a songwriter or a guitarist or a singer or a lyricist or even a film producer. All of those are me, in a way - just like I like gardening, digging holes and sticking trees in.”- George Harrison.

“ Finding the right guys, I think, is really the hardest part of being a leader. The rest gets to be largely routine and resigning yourself to being a bad guy part of the time.”- Paul Desmond.

“ There’s a thing about empathy between musicians. The great bands were the ones in which the majority of the people were good people, morally good people; I call them real people. In jail they call them regulars.”- Art Pepper.

“ A good musician can do more to change society than 30 average mayors.”- Howard Roberts.

“ Avoid root notes.”- Wynton Marsalis.

“ I don’t know one musician who’s stuck to his guns, who was good in the early days, that hasn’t come through now with recognition from everybody.”- Jimmy Page.

"Would you like it if I turned up on the bandstand dressed like a doctor, and then played like a doctor?"

- Charlie Parker's response to being asked to tidy up his appearance.

“ So much great music has already happened that catching up is a hell of a job.”- Jerry Garcia.

“ The selfish or shallow person might be a great musician technically, but he’ll be so involved with himself that his playing will lack warmth, intensity, beauty and won’t be deeply felt by the listener.”- Art Pepper.

“ It’s not the note that you play that’s the wrong note: it’s the next note you play that makes it right or wrong.” - Miles.

“ The conventional thing is to use the hi-hat for the after-beat and use the bass drum for the underlying 4/4 or 3/4 rhythm to keep the steady pulsation....But I just think you have to use all of the drum set all the time.”- Elvin Jones.

“ Each player must decide for himself.”- Cecil Taylor.

The guitar, as I’ve always said, is a little orchestra.”- Segovia.

“ What knocks me out about Coltrane is that he’s the most harmonically static player and the most harmonically adventurous at the same time.”- Steve Reich.

“ Musical notation can be used as a point of reference, but the notation does not indicate music, it indicates direction.”- Cecil Taylor

“ - I don’t know what I mean by saying that.”- Cecil Taylor.

“ He had already plotted five seconds ahead of time what he was going to do, and you could hear it in his music. It looked like he was a very slow player, but in fact he was making quick decisions, and because he understood his craft so well his music has this kind of air of easyness about it. What you heard had been edited completely, only the essence remained. Desmond understood how to get to the point quicker than most players ever learn.”- Anthony Braxton on Paul Desmond.

“ You play a couple of notes and say“That sounds like Eric Clapton”or“That sounds like George Benson”. But then you play two or three notes and say“Man, that’s me”. And you concentrate on those ones.”- Carlos Santana.

“ The whole point of making music is to get something across”. - Thom Yorke.

"In the old days my guitars were set up horribly!" - Walter Becker.

“ It’s like a beautiful city, but we don’t enter, because we have to go through the portals, the corridor, and then we reach the entranceway. When that chord hits, that E major, the doors start to open. That’s what it’s like for me - the very first invitation to this beautiful place that’s here, that’s in our heart and spirit.”- Alice Coltrane on the opening piece of A Love Supreme.

“ I really feel that you can’t avoid finding your voice if you keep playing.”- Jerry Garcia.

“ The piano has no vibrato. But trying for it affects what comes before it in the phrase.”- Bill Evans.

“ Scales and modes are mechanical and uninteresting.”- Herb Ellis.

“ If I could do it all again, I’d learn how to read.”- Tal Farlow.

“ Dizzy Gillespie and Lalo Schifrin were in Erroll Garner’s hotel room Erroll was putting golf balls into a cup against the wall. Dizzy asked if he might try it, took Erroll’s putter, and sank one ball after another, to the amazement of Erroll and Lalo, who asked if he had played a lot of golf. He said he had never done it before. How then, was he doing it?‘I just imagine,’Dizzy said,‘that I’m the ball and I want to be in the cup’.”

“ I never approached the piano as a thing in itself but as a gateway to music. Rather than“the instrument that plays jazz”, it’s“the mind that thinks jazz”that interests me.”- Bill Evans.

“ The darkest hour is before dawn.”- Paulo Coehlo (The Alchemist).

“ I practiced piano three hours a day in childhood, about six hours a day in college, and at least six hours now. With that, I could afford to develop slowly.”- Bill Evans.

“ Keep things simple. Don’t fill your head with theory and numbers that have little to do with music.”- Joe Pass.

“ The guitar is an instrument of nuances: not the force, not the strength, but the nuance.”- Segovia.

“ It gets to the point where the player, if he’s going to be any kind of serious player, teaches himself.”- Bill Evans.

“ It’s hard to play music: it’s not like falling off a log.”- John Scofield.

“ Making good records has very little to do with all the possibilities you’ve got. It’s, can you make adecision?”- Keith Richards.

“ People are basically just pixels on a screen, unknowingly serving this higher power which is manipulative and destructive, but we’re powerless because we can’t name it.”- Thom Yorke.

“ Parker used to play a lot on the upper parts of the chords. Sometimes he’d start a phrase two beats late and run it into the next chord. Even if it didn’t fit the chord, the phrase was so nice it didn’t matter.”- Tal Farlow.

“ I caught up onlisteningto music, which to me is maybe the greatest art.”- Keith Richards.

“ You can only take from the guitar what you put into it.”- Wes Montgomery.

“Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned with feeling being the generating force.” - Bill Evans.

“ I tried to be Jim Hall when I was a kid and I couldn’t become him. In the early 70’s I tried to imitate John McLaughlin, and I couldn’t become him. In the end I discovered that you have to become what you are, and play that.”- John Abercrombie.

“ A lot of the 80s has been toytown music, because of the advance of technology: everybody is tryin to figure out what to do with all these toys.”- Keith Richards

“ We had this whole thing about Amnesiac being like getting into someone’s attic, opening a chest and finding their notes from a journey they’d been on. There’s a story, but no literal plot, so you have to keep picking out fragments. You know something really important has happened to this person that’s ended up completely changing them, but you’re never told exactly what it is.”- Thom Yorke.

“ I’ve never really had any guitar heroes.”- Edge.

“ For me, I think the only danger is being too in love with guitar playing.”- Jerry Garcia.

“ Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”- Monk.

“ You must keep things moving, and have a narrative flow. The fundamental principles are the same: The idea is to tell a story.”- Pat Metheny.

“ Investigating open tunings wasn’t really a conscious thing, but a necessary one, maybe. Sometimes the subconscious bits come up front and say‘in order to save you, we’re taking you over for a bit’.”- Keith Richards.

“ When you have a strong vocation, everything is easy. Even if it is too hard to learn, it is easy because you have patience. Vocation is what the very religious man says is the inspiration from heaven.”- Segovia.

" The word 'bebop' doesn't mean a thing to me. It's about trying to play clean, and looking for the pretty notes."- Charlie Parker.

“ Rhythm is a hard subject to put into words.”- Keith Richards.

“ In the long run I think it’s more important to look at paintings than study the way somebody plays bebop lines.”- Jim Hall.

“ When you compare music, you lose the joy of listening to it.”- John Scofield.

" Just play it like you don't know how to play guitar."- Miles to John McLaughlin when recording In a Silent Way.

“ MONK = KNOW”- Monk.

“ Whenever I start working on a song, I immediately try to forget everything, to empty my head. I try to approach it like,“This is the first time I’ve ever played a guitar. What am I going to do?”. That’s one way of getting straight through the conscious mind into the subconscious layer where the true creative spirit lies.”- Edge.

“ Music is my voice to God.”- John McLaughlin.

“ Playing slightly out of tune...we’re talking about a certaintensionthat’s created by jarring the nerve just a little.”- Keith Richards.

" I want to paint atmosphere."- Monet.

“ When you're not sure what to play, lay out. In other words, don't just do something - sit there.”- Jim Hall.

“ It’s always night, otherwise you wouldn’t need the light!”- Monk.

“ I do know the older I get, the more I'm referencing music I heard as a kid.”- Bill Frisell.

“ Well of course I’m a pretty sharp pool player, but the guitar is a hard instrument.”- Wes Montgomery.

“ I’m still working on my sound. It’s really about finding the right guitar with the right amp.”- Keith Richards.

“ Jazz is vital, living music that should be about life.”- John McLaughlin.

" Listening is still the key."- Jim Hall.

“ Never ask for a job, just be on the scene and be ready!”- Monk to Steve Lacy.

“ Why dirty up the arrangement by randomly whacking a couple of chords or a couple of extra tweezy notes just because that’s what everybody else would do?”- Frank Zappa.

“ On the piano I may come across something I wouldn’t have done on guitar.”- Keith Richards.

“ It bugs me when people try to analyse jazz as some kind of intellectual theorem. It's not: it's feeling.”- Bill Evans.

“ Any chord can follow any chord in my book.”- John McLaughlin.

“ That state of living where one can say, with no regrets, 'I reached the point of pride and the elegance of being a human being'. It's so elegant to be a human being - elegant meaning good fortune. We are very fortunate to be born as human beings. So if we realise that fortune, why not strive to be the most elegant in everything we do?”- Wayne Shorter.

“ I always feel funny when somebody comes up to me and says“what kind of modes do you use?”To me that’s the equivalent of someone asking“what kind of verbs do you use?”- Pat Metheny.

“ My name is John Francis Pastorius III, and I’m the greatest bass player in the world.”- Jaco meets Joe Zawinul for the first time.

“ There are times when an acoustic guitar willmakea track.”- Keith Richards.

“ Socrates was wise because he realized how little he knew.”- Bill Evans.

“ Football is a game that you play with your brain.”- Johann Cruyff.

“ Jazz is the most advanced thing in the universe - that’s why we gotta do it.”- Barry Harris.

“ Live your life. Don’t lock yourself in your room eight hours a day and think of nothing but playing guitar. Learn how to live well, to appreciate flowers. You have to have a human side.”- Vernon Reid.

“ We used to just go and jam, actually. We’d say‘rehearsing’just to make it sound, you know, official.”- Hendrix.

“ Me and Jimi Hendrix built the World Trade Centre towers by ourselves - with our bare hands!”- Jaco Pastorius.

“ I must create my own system or be enslaved by another’s.”- William Blake.

“ I’m different”. - Frank Zappa.

“ When you’re inspired, you can do anything.”- John McLaughlin.

“ You can do anything. If you want to walk through a wall you can walk through a wall.”- Jaco.

“ Every day you wake up in pain like death, then you go out and score, and that is transfiguration. Each day becomes all of life in microcosm.”- Bill Evans on addiction.

NB: I do NOT endorse drug use. I reckon this comment illustrates how destructive drug addiction can be.

“ It gets to me when technique becomes the featured item. It’s like somebody spending hours polishing a tap thinking that it’s going to make the water purer or tastier. It doesn’t work like that. I’ve never sat down and worked on technique - it just takes care of itself as you become a better musician.”- Pat Metheny.

“ I think of all harmony (....) as an expansion from and return to the tonic.”- Bill Evans.

“ Players get to that intermediate level where they can already play pretty good, and that’s kind of a dangerous period because they tend to start playing only the things that they can play, rather than the things they can’t.”- Pat Metheny.

“ Try to listen to a lot of music to keep a perspective. If you don’t, what you bring to your own playing will become really shallow.”- Vernon Reid.

“ I became obsessed with The Urantia Book. It got to the point where we would sit on the roof of my place and meditate and wait for UFOs to come and pick us up. We were both totally convinced it was a real possibility. And Jaco believed that he was such a special person the aliens would want to check him out.”- Bobby Econoumou.

“ If I make an attempt to construct a great solo, the craftsman in me can do that, but that’s the last thing I want to happen as an improviser.”- Pat Metheny.

"Like my hero Grant Green, I try to avoid playing more than one note at a time."- Walter Becker.

"I developed an ear for picking things up off records, and that's how I learned."- Monte Montgomery.

“ Titles are important. Some pieces are program music, you know, the tune tells a story - like Duke's 'Tattooed Bride' and 'Harlem Airshaft'.”- Billy Strayhorn.

“One reason why I always felt good about growing up in a fairly isolated town is that there was no way to know what was‘happening’.”- Pat Metheny.

“ When you love a woman, it’s the God in her that you see”. - George Harrison.

"Better the thought than the feeling". - Beth Gibbons on romance.

“ Whenever I encounter great art, I don’t feel a sense of discovery, but rather one of confirmation, as if I had already been thinking the same idea without knowing it.”- Brad Mehldau.

“ I like the sound of the flugelhorn - I play it all the time”. - Harry Beckett.

“ This world is really paradise, but we’ve forgotten, that’s all. Obviously the world cannot change - it is people who have to change. If I can bring some comfort into someone’s life then I won’t have lived in vain.”- John McLaughlin.

“ Just because I wrote the song it doesn’t necessarily mean I know any better than anyone else what it’s about.”- Lou Reed.

“ I like the idea of a party in your mind that you hope will never stop. I think of people in a situation where they have to be straight, but in their heads they’re losing it completely. That duality really appeals to me.”- Vernon Reid.

“ The song‘Alabama’came from a speech. John said there was a Martin Luther King speech about the four girls getting killed printed in the newspaper. And so John took the rhythmic patterns of his speech and came up with‘Alabama’.”- Elvin Jones.

“ When playing a solo or a tune, you have the opportunity to construct something: a stone wall or maybe an archway. The wall is the easier of the two. An arch however has tension and drama and contains the possibility that it may fall in on itself and become a pile of rocks again. Go for the shape or feeling: the form.”- Jim Hall.

“ When you walk on to a stage, you take your whole self with you. The more of you there is, the better.”- Jim Hall.

“ The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted.”- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene I.

“ (Pop Idol) Will Young’s in the Guinness Book of Records for fuck’s sake! But so what? So is a bloke who jumps off the Eiffel Tower and lands in a fucking tea cup. Did he write strawberry fields forever? No.”- Noel Gallagher on the manufactured pop industry.

“ Spiritual and artistic levels are the same - there’s no difference.”- John McLaughlin.

“ I think the majority of musicians are interested in truth.”- John Coltrane.

“ ..... and they’ve got to be, because saying a musical thing is a truth. If you play a musical statement and it’s a valid statement, that’s a truth right there in itself, you know. All musicians are striving for as near certain perfection as they can get, and that’s truth there, you know. So in order to play these things, these truths, you’ve got to live as much truth as you possibly can.....and if a guy is religious and if he’s searching for good and he wants to live a good life - he might call himself religious or he might not.”- Trane.

“ Your humanity is your instrument.”- Wayne Shorter.

“ At home in California I used to play, and the birds always used to whistle with me. I would stop what I was working on and play with the birds.”- Eric Dolphy.

“ It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception”. -Albert Einstein, speaking about his theory of relativity.

“ I feel that we have every reason to face the future optimistically.”-‘Trane.

“ If there is a new invention, a new gas, it has to be given the chance to surface to be recognised before it can benefit the human race.”- Hendrix

“ You still hear musicians say the height of their ambition is to play in the Ellington band.”- Harry Carney.

“ I never know what I want, but I do know what I don’t want”. - Stanley Kubrick.

“ If I can abandon my own preconceived, silly notions of what I think I am, then the music can really use me. It’s selfish to impose myself on the music.”- John McLaughlin.

“ I was at Birdland one night, the quartet was playing and I finally got up courage enough to go up and talk to one of them, because Elvin Jones was sitting just two tables away. I told him how much I loved their music, and he said“Oh, we just finished an album called A Love Supreme, I think you’ll really like it.”- Producer Michael Cuscuna.

“ I would like to see more colour on the streets, probably.”- Hendrix.

“ It's interesting that some of the letters Monk gets thank him for just being himself. He couldn't be any other way.”- Nellie Monk.

“ I taught myself guitar from Charlie Christian’s records. I listened to them real good and I knew that everything done on his guitar could be done on mine, because he had a six-string, so I just determined that I would do it.”- Wes Montgomery.

“ Ideally a group should be in an evolving state like a mobile, with each player acting and reacting as the music takes shape.”- Jim Hall.

“ Sometimes I get so deep that I feel like I’m walking around on the bottom of the sea watching the sunset.”- Hendrix.

“ There is nothing new under the sun.”- Aristotle.

“ You can't make anything go anywhere; it just happens.”- Monk

“ It’s feeling.”- Bill Evans on music.

“ It’s the spontaneity onstage which is of paramount importance, because how I feel now, I never felt before and I’ll never feel again.”- John McLaughlin

“ I try to make myself ignorant, and go by sound and feeling. When things are going right, it feels like the music is happening because you finally got out of the way.”- Jim Hall.

“ I felt like I was turning my brain inside out to where my subconscious was becoming my conscious.”- John Frusciante.

“ I just box on account it makes you graceful.”- Miles.

“ When we played gigs in Utah, the people were really listening: they were really tuned in some kind of way or another. I think it was the air.”- Hendrix.

“ We always solo and we never solo”- Joe Zawinul on Weather Report.

“With jazz, you can't explain it to anyone without losing the experience. It's got to be experienced, because it's feeling, not words.” - Bill Evans.

“I think the most powerful sound in the drum kit is silence.” - Trevor Davies

“Monk stood still and listened to tin cans rattling in the wind in an empty lot: ‘Do you know what the loudest noise in the world is, man?’ He asked; ‘The loudest noise in the world is silence’.”

“I was just bending reality to create a little fantasy. Now I’m doing things like Room Full Of Mirrors, which is about mental derangement and bits of broken glass in my brain and so forth. Are they psychedelic pieces? I don’t even know what the word means really. I just give them little bits to dream on, and dreams come from different moods.” - Hendrix.

"I'm excited to be touring again. It's been a few years and I've still got a bit of hearing above 5kHz that I'd like to obliterate." - Walter Becker.

“You try to express a simple emotion - love, excitement, sadness - and often your technique gets in the way. I've always had good facility, and that worries me. I hope it doesn't get in the way.” - Bill Evans.

“You are the one who has to learn guitar, because a teacher can only show you so much.” - Wes Montgomery.

“I used to have a bunch of Hawk's records and a player with me all the time. I would wake up in the morning and listen to Hawk. One day, a guy said to me, 'Well, Ben, you finally did it.' I asked him what he meant. He said, 'You sound just like Hawk now.' I packed up the record player and took it to Kansas City for my folks. From then on, I developed on my own.” - Ben Webster.

“I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That's all I know.” - Billie Holiday.

“It's kind of nice to play concerts, but I feel closer to the people when we play a club. They're more relaxed.” - Ben Webster

"Try again: fail better." - Samuel Beckett's advice to failures.

"I couldn't believe that people could be doing something so exciting, because I understood that people didn't do what they wanted to do, they did what they had to do." - Morrissey.

"In Cuba you feel like there's ample time. You don't have the pressure of life coming towards you, and all the rushing around and the freeways. The concept of the consumer is that you don't have time, you've got to hurry. Eat now - you've got to eat and you've got to get to the next thing, which is the next destination for an expense, some connection with some commodity yanking you all the time. You don't see this in Cuba.

This experience could benefit Americans. People used to play instruments much more than they do today. If you play your music the best you can and you satisfy yourself, that's job one. Most people don't even get to do that. They don't play an instrument or paint a painting or write a story or create anything. But if you play, and you like it, you'll never be bored or feel left out. You'll be able to communicate and have this other dimension. Plus if you do a good job, people love it. They're so grateful that they send back this reaction that lets you know there is a reason. And that's a very good feeling." - Ry Cooder.

“You’ll find more people against you than with you, until you get started. Then you’ll find more with you than against you”. - Wes Montgomery.

"I liked Ska music at the time, lots of energy, but it's for Coxsone and Byron Lee and Prince Buster, and I don't want to make the type of music they make, I want to make my music. I imagine myself dancing how I dance and I don't dance like them, so I create my own music off my own dance." - Lee Perry

"What I brought with me was righteousness. But I also bring the sounds of the forest, the streams and the birds. Then there is the water. I am a Piscean and water is my life stream, so I follow it with the splash of the stream and the drops of the rain." - Lee Perry.

"Time will integrate us all" - Bernard Manning (yes, that one - I couldn't believe it either)

"I'd had my phone disconnected for not paying the bill, and one day I found a note in my mailbox from Sonny Rollins asking if I'd like to talk about music. I didn't want to pay for a taxi so I walked over to his place, which was a long way, and left him a note to say that I was home more than I would like, and I'd be delighted to talk. When he did stop by, he put this little plastic bag on the table and it began to tremble. I asked him what was in the bag, but he wouldn't tell me until after we'd finished talking. When we did finish, it turned out that he'd been to the pet shop and bought a little pet chameleon - he opened it up and said "Look at this guy - isn't he great?"

" He explained that he'd met Bob Cranshaw and Walter Perkins and we were the guys he wanted for his new group. My schedule was wide open, and being accepted by Sonny was amazing. I'd known him since the days of the Clifford Brown/Max Roach group, but I didn't really understand how extraordinary he was - and is - until I worked with him. I'd say that musically and personally he's still my kind of hero." - Jim Hall

"What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who has only eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time, he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war." - Pablo Picasso.

"What's it like not being a Beatle?" - George Harrison, on being asked what it's like being a Beatle.

"You may be surprised by how much politics means to us in the ghetto, but the reason is because we know that if our party loses, we will starve." - Kingston character "Brambles" to the author in Laurie Gunst's "Born Fi Dead" book.

"Bitches' Brew is not a frozen chicken" - Wayne Shorter's views on the classic Miles album.

"You're like the girl who left her shadow in the drawer, but when she went to get it, it wasn't there".

- Wayne Shorter's description to Victor Bailey of what his bass playing sounded like... (I know it sounds crazy, but so what? Music is art - it doesn't have to always make perfect sense. Some of the best art is surrealist.)

"You know the actor John Garfield? In one movie he walked up to this train station, the ticket booth, and the guy says 'Yes, where are you going?' And he says, 'I want a ticket to nowhere'. I thought: that's it. The freedom to do that. I want a ticket to nowhere". - Wayne Shorter.

"It's totally unrealistic to think that you're going to be a great player just because you know how to play fast or you know how to play 5,000 styles. I read reviews of new players who can sit in with anybody or play with five different types of band in five nights - and everybody talks about this like it's a positive thing. If you get an audience and you get gigs and you have a name before you have anything to say, it actually wipes out the possibility of saying something later on. The people who would produce valuable things are waylaid too soon. The bigger the media, the worse it is for the artist. I'm not even sure I should use the word artist. There are some ages, I think, that don't deserve art as much as others."

"The old days of jazz were much healthier for the music itself," he says. "I think there's a horrible thing going on now, where young players haven't been told by the right people that there's more to it than marketing themselves. They expend all the energy they should be using to find their voice, or work on their voice, or listen to themselves play. They've got to resist this stuff. I was called by Columbia at one point when I was with this little ECM record label, and they offered me a giant advance. I said no".

"Wynton Marsalis imitates other people's styles too well. You can't learn to imitate everyone else without a real deficit. I've never heard anything Wynton played sound like it meant anything at all. Wynton has no voice and no presence. His music sounds like a talented high-school trumpet player to me. He plays things really, really, really badly that you cannot screw up unless you are a bad player. I've felt embarrassed listening to him. Behind his humble speech, there is an incredible arrogance. And for a great player who talks about the blues - I've never heard Wynton play the blues convincingly, and I'd challenge him to a blues standoff any time. He's jazzy the same way someone who drives a BMW is sporty."

- Keith Jarrett on the State Of Things. I don't necessarily agree with all of this.

"Music, in order to create harmony, must investigate discord." - Plutarch.

"The piano is a mirror that only reflects the temperament and spiritual condition of the player." - Kenny Werner.

"I had trouble listening to good music because it hurt so much. Oh, I could listen to the immortals and hang with that ok, but when a contemporary of mine really sounded good, man, that was hard to take." - Kenny Werner.

"There was a balance and control in my playing that I seemed to have little to do with. It was as if I had swallowed some magic pill that transformed my playing into perfection. And the tape confirmed it. Right then and there I became a believer and disciple." - Kenny Werner.

"Statues fascinate me lately. When I look at one, I notice their complete stillness and inner strength." - Kenny Werner.

"Which comes first? the the cart or the horse? The chicken or the egg? Do I trust my instincts because they are good, or does the fact that I refuse to judge my instincts make them good?" - Kenny Werner.

"Awkward usually happens because you're trying too hard." - Kenny Werner.

"Man is condemned to freedom." - Sartre.

"Life, spirit, sexuality, emotions, life experiences, these things create music. To create music based on music for me is boring, but that's just me. you be you." - Kenny Werner.

"Form is always there. you only notice it when you haven't mastered it." - Kenny Werner.

"The paradox, or Cosmic Joke, is that we can now even reach our potential and realise our original goals, once we have given up all care and concern for doing so!" - Kenny Werner again - check out his website, it's brilliant.

"Avoid root notes." - Wynton Marsalis.

"Any fool can gaze at the stars. It takes wit to live in the gutter." - Emile Zatopek.

"It's kind of commonplace - mechanised perfection, actual perfection is a banality, music that goes on the weather channel." - Walter Becker of Steely Dan.

"If you're playing a note that the other guy is playing, everything will fall apart. Everyone has to take a different piece of the chord." - Denny Walley of the Captain Beefheart Band.

"In truth there's only really one groove, and that's the groove that makes you dance. I'm not saying you can't 'bling bling'. Bling all you want, but while you're doing it why don't you bling with the Africans, the Brazilians, the Cubans and the Turks?" - Taj Mahal.

"There's a lot of compression in Western society, making people do things they don't really want to do. This type of groove comes from people getting in and out of cars and elevators all the time, walking in right angles everywhere they go, all of which affects their whole body language, not to mention their music." - Taj Mahal.

"Give me three notes that deliver the universe, as opposed to 26 notes I can't even remember." - Taj Mahal.

"Don't tell me you can't dance. All musicians should know how to dance onstage or at least move. If you're having trouble, the first thing to do is stop thinking so much. Try to get out of your own way so the music can come through you. How can you ask people to give up their money and part of their lives to come and support you when you won't even learn how to dance?" - Taj Mahal.

"You can't build a house from the chimney down to the foundation. I encourage people to listen back, because that's what gives you a musical foundation. Listen back behind James Brown, behind John Coltrane and everyone else, and like those guys, you'll gain the ability to really hear music from a different time and place. With that foundation, you can play anything. I tell every kid who really wants to be a musician the same thing. First really find out who your parents are - you know what their ancestral background is, how many generations they've been in this country, and what kind of music followed them here. Then get as close to the original source of that music as you can - find the roots of it all. Take the best and come forward. With the variety of sounds and styles that you have available to you nowadays, there is no way on this green earth that you won't be able to become a unique sounding individual." - Taj Mahal

"Learning from other people is what music is all about." - Neil Young.

"An educated person is someone who can communicate with everyone." - Taj Mahal.

"For magic to happen, you have to be flexible." - Steve Kimock.

"Songwriting is something very natural to me; music just comes to me as a gift from the gods and I am thankful for this! Jobim used to say that his best co-writer was his piano. Whenever he put his hands on it, good ideas would flow. I can say exactly the same regarding my guitar." - Joyce.

"Things only work if they’re real." - Joyce.

"I think, Billie Holiday is what we call "diseuse" in French. Diseuse is a person who speaks the lyrics, not only sings, but speaks the lyrics. Billie understood the full meaning of the lyrics, and she had this quality, which I think was really amazing. It was emotion all the time." - Joyce.

"All human pain and sweetness is in the voice of Elis Regina." - Joyce.

"When I think of her, I see a very feminine woman and one very, very concentrated on her family. She was very involved with being a mother. She was always concerned about her house and loved that sort of thing too. She was not only into her career. Although she was a great career woman and a huge star, she didn't want to miss this other part of her life. She wanted to be perfect in everything and really wanted to take care of her kids and of her home and was very much into all of those things." - Joyce on the aforementioned Elis.

"The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it's all written there." - Paulo Coehlo in The Alchemist.

"Everything on the earth has a soul, whether animal, vegetable or mineral - or even just a simple thought. Everything on the earth is being continuously transformed because the earth is alive...and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognise that it is working for us." - Same again.

"There is only one way to learn. It's through action." - ditto.

"Our best musicians are our best ambassadors, and they should have diplomatic passports." - Malian cultural minister Cheik Oumar Sisoko.

"The bolon (bass like instrument) which I play is always out of tune, but I love instruments that are hard to control." - Malian musician/singer Rokia Traore.

"I respect my ancestors, but tradition is not infallible." - same again.

"Between the wall and the sword, I am drawn toward the sword." - Elis Regina again, referring to relationships etc. I think she means she picks arguments when she's bored.

"If a tree has no roots, how can it grow?" - Congo Natty.

"If life must not be taken too seriously, then
so neither must death." - Samuel Butler.

"You can dislike nine tenths of everything Picasso ever did, and still not deny his genius." - Clive James.

"If you like Radiohead, you'll love jazz." - Kurt Rosenwinkel.

"To me, my melody maker is a hot rod." - John Abercrombie.

"I'm actually reading Guitar Player nowadays, instead of just looking at the ads." - James Hetfield (Metallica).

"Wes was such a pioneer - he was really the first guitarist to do the whole 'groove' thing." Jazz guitarist Robert Lowe.

"You could think of me as a jazz renegade or as a traditionalist." - Kurt Rosenwinkel. I think he's saying that the tradition in jazz is always to come up with new things.

"I want to explore the instrument in all its potential." - Badi Assad.

"If you're into what you're playing, that's the most important thing." - James Hetfield.

"The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about." - Oscar Wilde.

"The greatest illusion is that man has limitations." - Robert Monroe.

"Qui s'excuse, s'accuse." (French saying).

"He had funniness in the same way that beautiful people have beauty." - Steven Fry on Peter Cook.

"I left my body to science. But I'm afraid they turned it down." - Eric Idle.

"I finally had within my grasp the one thing that every human being truly wants - fame." - Graham Chapman.

"The world's not always unkind and cries for help are frequently answered." - John Mortimer.

"I have only ever truly loved one woman. But over the years she has had many different names." - character (and then some) Haverford Downs in John Mortimer's Summer's Lease.

"Have you got any idea what it's like to fall in love with a bloke who changes his sex, and you take him to live with your mum and dad, and then find him undressing on the dance floor of the Flying Saucer and making you so mad you hit him with a piggy bank?" - The Accused in a murder trial defends his actions.

"Well, this is no time for false modesty." - Peter Cook when told by an interviewer that he was considered the funniest man on earth.

"How has my playing changed? Well I think I try to rip off Zappa even more now." - Larry Lalonde of Primus.

"I also play harmonics at the 17th fret. It's the same harmonic that you get at the 5th fret, but I play them up there because it looks harder." - Bireli Lagrene.

"There are always people who know stuff that you don't. It's just different people use different colors in their paintings. You can't say red is better than blue." - Eric Johnson.

"You can learn the notes, but it's tough to learn his inflections, attitudes, and the informal spontaneity he had when he recorded that stuff. His playing was almost like a beautiful dance" - Eric Johnson on Hendrix.

"It's hard to deny all the things that have happened on the guitar in the last 30 or 40 years. If I played a saxophone or trumpet, it would be a lot easier to fall into this classicism. There was a period when I had my fat guitar, an exact copy of Jim Hall's ES-175. And that was an incredibly valuable period, to really immerse myself in the harmonies. That's where all the building blocks of what I do now came from. But then at a certain point this little bell went off and something just hit me: What I was doing wasn't honest. It was 1971, and I was pretending it was still 1956." - Bill Frisell on being a guitarist in jazz.

"Sometimes I feel like whatever style I have is basically the inability to do something else. It's like, 'Well, I can't do this, but I'm a musician and I'm going to do something'. - Bill Frisell.

"Never finish a phrase". - Miles (who else?)...

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." - Albert Einstein

"When you hear music, after it's over, it's gone in the air. You can never capture it again." - Eric Dolphy

"Is jazz as we know it dead? Well that all depends on what you know." - Lester Bowie

"I know just enough about music to not mess it up." - Gregg Rolie

"It's really easy to play harmonics, anyone can do it. It's another thing to be able to swing, to make to make a band swing, to create a groove. Harmonics ain't everything. Being able to play harmonics certainly does not make you a good bass player. Cleverness is no substitute for true awareness." - Jaco Pastorius

"See, the thing with a lot of these writers is that they sort of have a pretty good grip on the English language. They can write something and sound intelligent. These kinds of scathing, really ridiculous things come off much better if they’re written like normal guys talk. I actually respect that stuff better—someone who says 'That shit from this motherfucker? He’s a sad son of a bitch!' [laughs] I’d get into that more and take it more seriously." - Stanley Clarke

Analysis is the practice of learning by taking things apart.
Synthesis is the practice of learning by putting things together.

"I'll go for things that I know will be wrong, with a vengeance" - Neil Young

"Music should go right through you, leave some of itself inside you, and take some of you with it when it leaves" - Henry Threadgill.

"Whether you are playing in the bar, the church, the strip joint, or the Himalayas, the first duty of music is to complement and enhance life" - Carlos Santana

"When I asked him after the gig, "Miles, what am I supposed to be doing up there?" he said, "When they play fast, you play slow. When they play slow, you play fast" - Buster Williams, after his first night with Miles Davis.

"When I've played from my mind I get in trouble" - Stevie Ray Vaughan.

"If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards" - Joe Pass.

"My own thing is in my head. I hear sounds and if I don't get them together nobody else will" - Jimi Hendrix

"Listen. The greatest feeling I ever had in my life - with my clothes on - was when I first heard Diz and Bird together in St Louis, Missouri, back in 1944"

-Miles Davis.

"The only rule in rock and roll is... there are no rules." - Keith Richards.

“Man, if you have to ask what [jazz] is, you’ll never know.”

“Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it.”

“There’s only two ways to sum up music; either it’s good or it’s bad. If it’s good you don’t mess about it, you just enjoy it.”

“If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it.”

“Making money ain’t nothing exciting to me. You might be able to buy a little better booze than the wino on the corner. But you get sick just like the next cat and when you die you’re just as graveyard dead as he is.”

“The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the back yard on a hot night or something said long ago.”

(All Louis Armstrong)

“I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.”

“I don’t care if a dude is purple with green breath as long as he can swing.”

“If they act too hip, you know they can’t play shit.”

“Nothing is out of the question for me. I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light…Then I’m grateful.”

“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”

(All Miles)

Miles gets pulled over on a speeding ticket:

Traffic cop: "Do you know how fast you were going?"

Miles: "Man I don't look at the numbers, all I know is when it get to a certain speed, it sounds real good "

"If God had not meant for man to hunt animals, he would not have made them out of meat". - Ted Nugent

"Science is telling everyone something completely new in a way everyone can understand while art is telling everyone something they can understand in a completely new way." - Robert Oppenheimer

"Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny." - Frank Zappa

"Music is like the ocean, and the instruments are little or bigger islands, very beautiful for the flowers and trees..." - Andres Segovia

"Music is the shorthand of emotion." - Leo Tolstoy

"Without music, life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting." - Gottfried Leibniz

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." - Victor Hugo

"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff." -Frank Zappa

"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." - Frank Zappa

"Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff." - Frank Zappa

"One of my favorite philosophical tenets is that people will agree with you only if they already agree with you. You do not change people's minds." - Frank Zappa

"Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." - Frank Zappa

"The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows." -
Frank Zappa

"Without deviation progress is not possible." -
Frank Zappa

"You cannot be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer." -
Frank Zappa

"You are the music while the music lasts. " -
T. S. Eliot

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -
Berthold Auerbach

"There's no such thing as a wrong note, only a poor choice" - Thelonious Monk

"I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know." -
James Brown

"I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water." -
Ray Charles

"You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows. " -
Bob Dylan

"Once you're dead you're made for life." -
Jimi Hendrix

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination." - John Lennon

"Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art." -
Charlie Parker

"If every school would hire two more music teachers, we would need two fewer police officers." - Kurt Masur, conductor

"Without madness or fantasy, music is boring." - John McLaughlin

"There are only two kinds of music: good music and bad music." - Duke Ellington

"Music is supposed to wash away the dust of everyday life"....Art Blakey

Interviewer - "Where were you in May '68?"
Serge Gainsbourg - "At the Ritz."

"I don't think rock'n'roll should be analysed or even thought about deeply."
- Keith Richards.

"I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I'll die like a poet." - Bob Dylan.

"We live in a world where lyricism is no longer understood. I'm 55, so I grew up with this kind of stuff. I don't mean cheap sentimentality, but I am talking about juke box music that's a three and a half or four minute song. What's it supposed to do for you? That's the whole question. Manuel Galban told me that in the '50s, when he was young, there were little bars on every street corner in Havana, with open fronts and just a counter and a juke box. You'd go in because your girlfriend lived on the fifth floor, and you'd put on the tune that you wanted her to hear - the message you wanted to send. The sound went up and, bang, she heard it. That's what I'm talking about. It's short but it's power packed and it's got everything you need." - Ry Cooder.

"The whole trick with our studio is the room mics. You place them high up, on big booms, near the high ceiling. The sound doesn't happen here right next to me. If you just back the mics off, like they used to do, the instruments have time to focus. There's this pattern out there, and you find the spot where it all blends. I don't want to hear a damned trumpet right up in my face. Putting a mic in the bell of a horn is a satanic concept." - Ry Cooder.

"All you have to is be able to feel." - Art Blakey.

"When I got into a rock band it was so I didn't have to listen to my parents talking about tax cuts and who was going to get elected and all that stuff." - Alice Cooper.

"Sometimes I wonder why there's nothing wrong." - Robert Palmer.

"Growing up in the blitz was really exciting - if there wasn't an air raid every night I'd be really disappointed." - Stan Tracey.

"The only similarity between them in my opinion was that they both played the piano as if they'd only just discovered it." - Humphrey Lyttleton compares Stan Tracey and Thelonious Monk.

"I think the feelings in art should be more selective, and if there was any way to put what I do into a simpler form, I would." - Bill Evans.

"On the road we've had many good talks. We've known each other all our lives and yet we're still trying to figure out what's going on. Obviously, a lot of love as a subtext. But where is that love? How do we get in touch with any of that? For all of us, the decisions we make now are going to determine how we are as people until we die. Stevie and I are trying to look at it...with care." - Fleetwood Mac's Lyndsey Buckingham on his ongoing (now) platonic love affair with Stevie Nicks.

"Now I just adore him. He is my love. My first love and my love for all time. But we can't ever be together. He has a lovely wife who I really like, and they are expecting their third child. The way he is with his children just knocks me out. I look at him now and just go, Oh Stevie, you made a mistake! There isn't really anybody in my life - it wouldn't be good for me now anyway, I'm always away. But when hard times come over the next 20 or 30 years, when people we love die, he'll be the first person I'll call. Knowing that now, I think he has been able to let go of all the nasty things that happened and realise that, like I said to him, Lindsey, you'll always have me. I am always a phone call away. So youy get it all." - Stevie Nicks on same.

"It's a forever story with those two. As it is with all of us." - Mick Fleetwood pitches in.

"John is truly my best friend. I adore him. It's mutual. We've been through so much. He is the most truthful person I know. We share a sense of humour. Loyalty. Musically we've played for so long together that anything else is shallow compared to John. Long ago, playing the blues, we learnt that a rhythm section needs to be gracious: you're creating a platform for others. We don't have musical egos at all. I have a home on Maui in Hawaii. Now John's thinking, 'where do I go when I retire?' And about three weeks ago on the plane he told me 'I'm pretty sure I'm going to build a house on Oahu (a neighbouring island). Well you've got to give yourself a few days off before you start pushing up the daisies and to know that in our latter years, he's going to be just over the road... that makes me feel good." - Mick Fleetwood on the Mac rhythm section of Jon McVie and himself. I thought this whole article was really sweet - that they're all still friends after their insane career.

"What's that line from Blade Runner, the star that burns half as long burns twice as bright? That was PiL. It was very intense." - Jah Wobble.

"He was one of the most talented fucking guitar players I've ever known. He made a guitar do things that weren't supposed to be possible. But he just didn't see the value in it. He thought he was letting himself down. It must be that musicianship thing creeping in, doubting yourself because it doesn't sound like anything else, therefore it must be a mistake or a mess." - John Lydon on PiL guitarist Keith Levene.

"If you play a new thing every day, which I like to do, then you're going towards something that'll serve you later on. If you learn one new thing, one new passing note or chord combination, then someday there will come a song that all of those things will relate to." - Ry Cooder.

"In terms of structuring my solos, I know certain things I like to hear. Find a melody and make it say something. It's speaking to you; it's not just notes. You also want to insert a certain attitude - is it up, is it down, is it happy, is it sad? Hopefully you just play, you just know these things instinctively, like driving a car." - Ry Cooder.

"For years I tried to get the notes right. I wanted to play notes. But Gabby (Pahinui) doesn't bother with that - he's way past the notes. It's the approach, the whole attitude. You just let yourself come out. Gabby will say 'If it comes from your heart, I can feel it.' That's a very typically Hawaiian thing to say, and that's something that he does better than anyone else I've ever known. That's the key to it - getting the musician's expression of feeling across." - Ry Cooder.

"Classical guitarists play a lot of fantastic and complicated polyphonic music, but some listeners unfamiliar with that style of playing get fidgety, bored, or don't understand what it's about. Even if someone has simple tastes in music, they know when something swings and when it doesn't. A lot of classical guitar playing doesn't swing because it lacks a natural feel." - John Williams.

"I never seriously thought about doing anything else." - Johnny Cash.

"I'm a self taught musician, so I learn from my mistakes. If I screw up onstage and it works, I'll think, 'How can I do that again?' I'll try to recreate the train wreck, but with a bit more elegance." - Jimmy Thackery.

"I decided not to be a doctor because they have to be on call all the time." - Ruben Gonzalez.

"He's a genius, but he hadn't played for three years when I approached him. He didn't even have a piano. Now he has a good one, and he's rich by Cuban standards." - Juan de Marcos Gonzalez on Ruben. He will be sorely missed

"Great music isn't about the notes. They arrange themselves." - Ry Cooder.

"He had a personal magnetism and he was totally charismatic. When you get to that age, you're in touch with something else that doesn't fit with the linear world in which the rest of us live. His world was his own, like a little atmosphere he carried around with him." - Ry Cooder on Compay Segundo.

"Compay was a fun guy with a zest for life. He was very amused by almost everything. He believed that life was fun and making music was fun. He had lived long enough and done it long enough to know that if it wasn't fun, it wasn't worth doing. But he was also enigmatic and I'm sure he takes a lot of secrets with him." - and again.

"I couldn't find a voice as a painter. I loved the sensuality of it - the textures, the canvas and the paint, the smell. But I wasn't comfortable, except with familiar representational things. Then when I discovered the horn I felt totally free: it was just sound, and it seemed so much easier to expressive with it." - Andy Sheppard.

"Something different's come out of it ( a big band project with his son Clark). Something that has surprises for both of us in it. That's what keeps me interested after all this time. After all, I wouldn't have been in it for the money, would I?". - Stan Tracey.

"My faith is the grand drama of my life. I'm a believer, so I sing words of God to those who have no faith. I give bird songs to those who dwell in cities and have never heard them, make rhythms for those who know only military marches or jazz, and paint colours for those who see none." - Messiaen on his Catalogue d'Oiseaux.

"There is a possible relationship between the astrological signs and the 12 notes of the octave scale. It's very interesting to be able to see relational tensions of astrological signs in harmonic terms." - John McLaughlin

"At age 32 I experienced a certain existential angst. At one point I just took a flight out of New York back to Europe. With a friend I went to a Monastery in the French Alps for a week. A wonderful experience, and I met a monk who had not spoken for 60 years. His eyes were amazing." - John McLaughlin.

"Spending so much time with Indian musicians has a permanent effect on me. I began to see that though India is becoming a very modern state, the ancient Indian culture and its religious implications are very much alive. One visit to India will convince the most cynical of observers that in contrast to western religion, the Indian religions are very much a part of everyday life. I like this very much." - John McLaughlin..

"I have the feeling that to go one step forward in music, I frequently have to take two steps backward." - John McLaughlin.

"Music is like a magnificent diamond with many facets; each facet is different but reflects the same light." - John McLaughlin.

"To me, something clicked with Jamaican music from the early 60s to about 1980 and it brought a new power in the universe." - Gary Jules ( I think someone from the 80s but am not sure.)

"There's magic about writing a song. You get an idea and you start working on it and it starts to come to life. That's the fascinating part. There are sections in a song sometimes where it flows faster, when you go through the rapids. Then when you get in the quiet waters, it's a little slower coming. Sometimes it's rapids all the way, that's the way creativity goes. I've had that feeling where I'm like a channel. That's what I call the magic part. When it happens, it happens. It just comes so easy. You're along for the ride." - Isaac Hayes.

"I haven't lived this life to end up in a fucking art gallery." - John Lydon, somewhat ironically being interviewed in Mojo magazine.

"I like movies that aren't so much story driven, but they make you feel like you're in a place." - Sofia Coppola.

"As a musician, you'll understand that you go into a certain state of mind when writing music - a very special place where you only hear music, only there's no sound - which in itself is a big mystery - and this place doesn't correspond to any time zone. It's as if your past there exists as much as your present. In fact, there's no real present, there's only the past." - John McLaughlin.

"A big problem for many jazz guitarists is 'piano envy.' We often try to put as many notes as possible into a chord, but one of our biggest strengths is being able to play really simply ad have it sound extremely cool." - New York geezer Liberty Ellman.

"Joe and I were standing there listening to the playback of a tune at mixdown. He turned to me and said 'sounds good'. Then Wayne Shorter played this hemiola type of figure - that's where you have one time going and you play another rhythmic figure to suggest a different one - and I joined what Wayne was doing, thinking 'I've got big ears'. As that part of the tape came up, Joe turned to me and said, 'too bad you had to do that though'. In a rehearsal I did the same thing again, and Wayne said 'don't do that'. I was just Mickey mousing as he was playing, and the function of listening is to support, and to know when to comment and not to comment." - Peter Erskine.

"I saw Paul Bley play in a nightclub in Washington DC, and for the first five or six minutes of this tune he didn't play a note. He was just concentrating and listening, and then when he finally played, it was amazing. It was one of the greatest, most challenging things I'd ever seen." - Peter Erskine

"I feel like a brother to Marc. We've played together for 10 years. We enjoy great trust, which is one of the most important things for a bass player and drummer to have. If I stray from the plan - I mean the plan is always to stray - but if I start to do something different rhythmically, I know that Marc is gonna keep the constant happening from the point where I departed from it. With a lot of bass players, as soon as you do something, they go, 'Oh, now's the time we can break it up, or we can get interactive.' If a bass player doesn't have the kind of patience and maturity that Marc does, the whole thing you're trying to set up, the whole dance of the music, gets deflated right away. You can't build, and then you get scared to try anything, because as soon as you do something, the clown's gonna go with you." - Peter Erskine

"I was never the type of drum soloist who could play the things that would make people go, 'Wow!' When I tried to do the 'wow' thing, my playing turned out to be a bit heavy. How could I make that come out right? Well I had to stop physically forcing the drum thing and learn to breathe better on the kit. I had to play with my shoulders relaxed, and not to beat the sound into the drum, but to draw the sound out. Now I don't worry about the 'wow' and just enjoy the creative process." - Peter Erskine.

"In some ways, Europeans are maybe a bit more refined about dealing with the human part of a musician's career. That is, treating the musicians over there like they deserve some special kind of place in society." - Joe Henderson obviously didn't visit Britain much.

"If musicians would retire some of their clichés, maybe a tune would still be as interesting as when they first started to play it." - Joe Henderson on why people can get bored of hearing standards.

"I really am a big believer in trying to figure out ways to do things on your own. Because then they become more meaningful to you, you understand them on a much deeper level than you would if you were just repeating something parrot fashion. So I'd like everybody to try to work hard on their own to develop themselves." - Allan Holdsworth.

"Don't let your hands dictate what you think you can do. Look at fingerboard charts and imagine your eyes dancing on the notes you want to play, and forget about whether your hands can do it or not. Just try it." - Allan Holdsworth.

"Try to think of it as music and not as a position or a grip. Keep in mind that creativity and imagination are something you had before you ever played guitar, and allow that to come through in your music." - John Scofield.

"If you wanna learn how to make a groove, you just have to jump in and do it." - Paul Jackson.

"Wes Montgomery definitely still exerts an influence today. I do a bit of teaching round the corner here, and the young guys have rediscovered him. He epitomises everything I was interested in at the time. he was already doing it all, and perfectly. For me what he played is still impossible, those octaves and such. The kids, they don't know it's impossible - it's like the four minute mile - they just do it. From a personal point of view, he and a couple of other people - Tal Farlow and Jimmy Raney - hearing them helped me realise that I'd better find something of my own to do, because I'll never be able to do that." - Jim Hall

"Once after a Shakti concert I almost quit playing the guitar. I realised I had to figure out something else to do (instead of trying to play like John McLaughlin). He's known for being very fast, but he's very soulful, and so far-out rhythmically." - Bill Frisell

"Musicians please themselves. That's all we're interested in." - John McLaughlin.

"recording is easy. If you prepare well." - John McLauglin

"My feeling about being a musician - and especially a jazz musician, is that the main payoff is being able to do it at all. Making a living at it something different. Being able to play music is the reward right there. Another thing I'm sure of is that it's never over, at least it certainly isn't for me. I practised today already, and if I don't, it's like somebody stepped on my hand. That another one of the beauties of music - it goes on forever." - Jim Hall.

"Compared to the innovations of the 50s and 60s, we're not doing much new today. The only thing we can really say is, 'Nobody can ever do it like I do it' - because we're each of us unique." - John McLaughlin.

"When Coltrane abandoned conventional structures, blew 'em up, he left most of us behind. Hear Trane today and your hair stands on end! What can you say to that? He's so powerful it makes you weep - but it's not conventional. So what? So what!" - John McLaughlin.

"Riverside wanted me to pose in a monk's habit, on a pulpit, holding a glass of whiskey. I told them no. Monks don't even stand in pulpits. I told them I would pose in a toy wagon, because I have actually composed in my kid's wagon on the front sidewalk." - Monk

"I want to achieve happiness in life and music - the same thing." - Monk.

"I am influenced by everything and everybody." - Monk.

"Why are people afraid of me? I've been robbed three times. They must not be afraid of me." - Monk.

"He's one of those guys who has changed the face of guitar without using a lot of spandex." - Charlie Hunter on Harp-Guitar player Phil DeGruy.

"If you want to be a jazz guitarist, you have to listen to him." - Charlie Hunter on Joe Pass.

"A lot of people didn't know I could play standards - they thought I was just a free jazz player." - John Abercrombie.

"I didn't listen to a lot of fusion music: I just went about it in my own way, plugging in different things and trying different combinations of sounds. It caused me to broaden my concept of what jazz or improvised music is, and I ended up finding out more about myself and how I wanted to play. I realised I wasn't Mr Instrospective totally, and that I had an aggressive part to my personality." - John Abercrombie

"My writing is easier for me to accept than my playing is." - John Abercrombie.

"There have been times when I've gotten very depressed and spent many long hours wondering why I was playing music at all. From a playing point of view it's good to be critical, but not so critical that you wind up in an institution or on the floor of a bar. It has to do with your sense of self worth. If you're overly critical, then maybe some deeper issues are involved, such as not being able to accept anything good about yourself. There's also the syndrome of feeling guilty about being a great musician, and that can lead to a musician saying he can't play when he knows he really can. The bigger your reputation is, the more the problems are intensified. When I meet a younger musician who's going through a heavy "I can't play" syndrome, I tell him I understand, because I'm still there. I haven't outgrown it, but I'm able to handle it better." - John Abercrombie.

"Going to Berklee did make me aware of other instruments. Right away I noticed that the horn players were more advanced than the guitarists. The horn players sounded more modern and fluid, and I began to realise that there is a difference between being a musician and being a guitarist. You can be both, but the music comes first." - John Abercrombie.

"I think I got my sense of establishing mood from listening to Jim Hall and Miles Davis. In a lot of jazz, you play the melody very straight ahead and then as soon as it's finished, the drummer starts going ding ding-a-ding and you just play a series of eighth notes. For me that's part of it, but it's not the whole picture, which has to do with setting a mood and thinking in a more compositional sense. You try not to do the same thing all the time, which is very difficult, because everyone has certain things they feel comfortable with and fall back on. Very rarely do I phrase a melody the same way twice, especially if it's my own tune." - John Abercrombie.

"When I'm 80 years old and playing whatever weird instrument is around, I'll still do 'Stella By Starlight'. Standards will always be important to me." - John Abercrombie.

"If you record a lot of takes of a tune, the more you play, the more things get stale. You start to repeat yourself because you're trying to make the perfect solo and you can't do it. The idea is to be creative and spontaneous. To do that you have to live with imperfection." - John Abercrombie.

"My technique is usually an outgrowth of working on something else. One thing I do is take a small fragment - maybe an eighth note line - and play it into the ground until it really feels fluid. Next I try to look at it from different harmonic perspectives, and then i try to include it in my playing. Using it is the hard part, but if you're familiar with something, it'll eventually creep into your improvisations. Sometimes I mentally visualise something on the fingerboard, and then I put it on the guitar later." - John Abercrombie.

"Over the last decade I think my playing has become more personal and more confident. I wouldn't say it's become more conservative, but it's clearer and it's not as wild as it was. And it's more connected. Now I intuitively know what I want to get across when I pick up the guitar, whereas before I often just went through the motions. My hands were moving and things were coming out, but I wasn't really hearing them. Playing what you hear is the greatest challenge." - John Abercrombie.

"I've been given lots of opportunities since I was 14 to play with musicians who were a lot better than me. And to me that's always been the secret." - Pat Metheny.

"I try to listen to everything. To me playing is about listening. the more I play, the more I realise it's true. when I'm playing, I don't even think about playing: all I think about is, 'What would I like to hear if I was listening to that?' And then I play that." - Pat Metheny.

"Early on the geographical terrain I grew up in (the Mid West) implied a lot of space, and that affected me aesthetically. I remember as I was playing thinking about fields, a tree, then a lot of space, then another tree, then a lot of space. I let things take time to unfold." - Pat Metheny.

"I think of all my records as one long record." - Pat Metheny.

"I feel that in every country there are musicians who are on a very high level spiritually, and that's who I'd like to play with." - Pharoah Sanders.

"Duke found out that trumpeter Rex Stewart could use his third valve to produce a trumpet E (concert D) that had this incredible ringing sound. So almost anytime there was a concert D in Duke's music, Rex would get that note, because Duke so loved the sound of it. Duke studied his band and his personnel like we study our instruments." - Clark Terry.

"When Ellington was in his early 20s, (bandleader) Will Marion Cook told him, 'Find out the normal way of doing things, how everyone does it, then do it your way.' I think he took that advice." Ellington transcriber David Berger.

"Duke taught us who we were." - Clark Terry.

"A lot of people can play this music, but they don't understand their notes. We loved our notes, so we made them sound right. Even though some people might say, that's a funny note, or that's a wrong note, we believed in those notes." - Anonymous Ellington Orchestra member.

"Music itself is a category of sound, but everything that goes into the ear is not music. Music is music, and that's it. If it sounds good, it's good music. How good? It depends on who's listening." - Duke.

4:33 AM  
Blogger JD said...

"Just don't play shit." Dan Reid, trumpet player with BGB on 'how to play a good solo'.

1:57 PM  

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