More Jazz Quotes

“It’s like a whole orchestra, the piano for me.”—Dave Brubeck

“Music is a verb.”—Ornette Coleman

“I can not play a lie. I have to believe in what I play or it won’t come out.”—Stan Getz

“I start in the middle of a sentence and move both directions at once.”—John Coltrane

“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”—Horace Silver

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

“Jazz is not a what, it is a how.”—Bill Evans

Duke Ellington

“If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!”—Duke Ellington

“You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.”—Charlie Parker

“Jazz is America’s classical music.”—Billy Taylor

“Jazz is there and gone. It happens. You have to be present for it. That simple.”—Keith Jarrett

“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

Sarah Vaughan

“There are notes between notes, you know.”—Sarah Vaughan



Jazz Quotes

Here are some quotes from Jazz Masters. Be inspired by their wisdom and music!

“Gray skies are just clouds passing over.”—Duke Ellington

 “One very important thing I learned from (Thelonious) Monk was his complete dedication to music. That was his reason for being alive. Nothing else mattered except music, really.”—Sonny Rollins

“Regardless of what you play the biggest thing is keeping the feel going.” —Wes Montgomery

“Jazz is the language of the emotions.”—Charles Mingus

 “Jazz is the big brother of the blues. If a guy’s playing blues like we play, he’s in high school. When he starts playing jazz it’s like going on to college, to a school of higher learning.”—B. B. King

 “We all have to open our minds, stretch forth, take chances and venture out musically to try and arrive at something new and different.”—Horace Silver

 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.”  − John Coltrane

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”—Ella Fitzgerald

Billie Holiday , Lester Young, Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan

“When Lester plays, he almost seems to be singing; one can almost hear the words.”—Billie Holiday

“The beauty of jazz is that it is malleable. People address to suit their own personalities.”—Pat Metheny

 “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.”—Stan Getz

 “Jazz is music made by and for people who have chosen to feel good in spite of conditions.”—Johnny Griffin

 “Sometime you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.”—Miles Davis


Listen to their music on our playlist!

Playlist Update: Snowbound

Below is our updated playlist with more staff holiday and seasonal song favorites, plus a favorite from our blog reader Peter.  Please leave a comment and tell us your favorite holiday song and why, and we will be sure to add it to our holiday playlist and include your name and your song in next Friday’s final blog post and playlist update.  Happy Holidays from all of us at Berklee City Music!

“Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire” – Nat King Cole

  • Whenever this song came on the radio, everyone in the car would stop talking and my family would sing this altogether, completely out of key. – Joanne D.

“Mele Kalikimaka” – Bing Crosby

  • I remember my parents playing the record every year when we put up our Christmas tree. (It’s also from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, which is one of my favorite holiday movies!) – Jean C.

“The Little” – Kirk Whalum

  • This is such a cool version of “The Little Drummer Boy” with just voices singing and beatboxing.  I first heard it on a Jazziz holiday sampler and really dug the harmony and chords that are sung at the 2:25 minute mark and the offbeat entrance.  It’s so hip and I still wait for that moment when I listen it today.  – Arin C.

“Hallelujah” – George Frideric Handel

  • Handel’s Messiah is synonymous with the winter holiday season, and its “Hallelujah” chorus has become an expression of pure joy and celebration.  Even if you don’t know what “Hallelujah” means, Handel’s music tells us everything: it alternates between an insistent repeating phrase while modulating upwards.  It’s catchy, and both literally as well as emotionally uplifting all at once. – Andrew S.

“Skating In Central Park” – Horace Silver

  • Chosen by our blog reader Peter O.  Unfortunately the Horace Silver version is not available on Spotify so as a substitute we have used the Bill Evans and Jim Hall version.