Jazz Quotes

A jazz musician can improvise based on his knowledge of music. He understands how things go together. For a chef, once you have that basis, that’s when cuisine is truly exciting.
Charlie Trotter

At heart I’ve always been a jazz man.
James Brown

Boxing is like jazz, the better it is, the less people appreciate it.
George Foreman

By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.
Duke Ellington

Don’t think of yourself as a jazz musician. Think of yourself as a human being who plays music.
Charlie Haden

Every Christmas there are volunteers sent to save us from the wrath of Burl Ives. They are called jazz musicians.
Mark Corroto

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.
Charles Mingus

Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz.
Louis Armstrong

I don’t have a definition of jazz… You’re just supposed to know it when you hear it.
Thelonious Monk

I don’t know where jazz is going. Maybe it’s going to hell. You can’t make anything go anywhere. It just happens.
Thelonius Monk

I never heard of a jazz musician who retired. You love what you do, so what are you going to do? Play for the walls?
Nat Adderley

If a jazz player is really playing, the classical player will have to respect him.
Wes Montgomery

If America has a future, Jazz has a future. The two are inseparable.
George Russell

If I’m going to be a jazz player, I need to understand Miles Davis.
Ice T

If it has more than three chords, it’s jazz.
Lou Reed

If jazz has to be termed as a wave, then music is a sea, but if the reflectors in the water is the chord.
Pat Metheny

It bugs me when people try to analyze jazz as an intellectual theorem. It’s not. It’s feeling.
Bill Evans

It takes an intelligent ear to listen to jazz.
Art Blakey

Jazz does not belong to one race or culture, but is a gift that America has given the world.
Ahmad Alaadeen

Jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.
Duke Ellington

Jazz has borrowed from other genres of music and also has lent itself to other genres of music.
Herbie Hancock

Jazz is a feeling, more than anything else. It isn’t music, it’s language…
Enos Payne

Jazz is a good barometer of freedom.
Duke Ellington

Jazz is a mental attitude rather than a style. It uses a certain process of the mind expressed spontaneously through some musical instrument. I’m concerned with retaining that process.
Bill Evans

Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music.
Nina Simone

Jazz is about being in the moment.
Herbie Hancock

Jazz is America’s classical music.
Billy Taylor

Jazz is an art form that depends on its antecedents, there must be respect for the people that have gone before.
Jon Hendricks

Jazz is freedom. You think about that.
Thelonius Monk

Jazz is improvisation and syncopation, with resilience and flow, with earthy elegance, nuance and subtlety, with the integrity of individual expression within a group context, with true democracy in action.
Greg Thomas

Jazz is like a great void, it waits patiently until a brave musician takes control of space and time.
Chris Griffin

Jazz is like wine. When it is new, it is only for the experts, but when it gets older, everybody wants it.
Steve Lacy

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

Jazz is my adventure. I’m after new chords, new ways of syncopating, new figures, new runs. How to use notes differently. That’s it. Just using notes differently.
Thelonious Monk

Jazz is neither specific repertoire, nor academic exercise… but a way of life.
Lester Bowie

Jazz is not a what, it is a how.
Bill Evans

Jazz is not the kind of music you are going to learn to play in three or four years or that you can just get because you have some talent for music.
Wynton Marsalis

Jazz is one of the least learnable art forms.
Keith Jarrett

Jazz is people’s music, a collectivity.
Steve Lacy

Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it.
Louis Armstrong

Jazz is the big brother of Revolution. Revolution follows it around.
Miles Davis

Jazz is the continual pulsation of the now.
Pat Martino

Jazz is the folk music of the machine age.
Paul Whiteman

Jazz is the language of the emotions.
Charles Mingus

Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time.
Ornette Coleman

Jazz is the type of music that can absorb so many things and still be jazz.
Sonny Rollins

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

Jazz is what I play for a living.
Louis Armstrong

Jazz is… An open-ended music designed for open minds.
Unknown Author

Jazz is… One of life’s greatest gifts: fun found within surprise.
Unknown Author

Jazz isn’t dead, it just smells funny.
Frank Zappa

Jazz music is an intensified feeling of nonchalance.
Francoise Sagan

Jazz music is the power of now. There is no script. It’s conversation. The emotion is given to you by musicians as they make split-second decisions to fulfill what they feel the moment requires.
Wynton Marsalis

Jazz vision is a wordless conversation between musical notes and visual expressions.
Barbara Januszkiewicz

Jazz was born out of the whiskey bottle, was raised on marijiana, and will expire on cocaine.
Artie Shaw

Jazz was not built in the minds of the great ones, but on the backs of the ordinary ones.
Cab Calloway

Jazz washes away the dust of every day life.
Art Blakey

Just because I’m playing jazz I don’t forget about me. I play or write me the way I feel through jazz, or whatever. Music is, or was, a language of the emotions.
Charles Mingus

Life is a lot like jazz… it’s best when you improvise…
George Gershwin

No America, no jazz.
Art Blakey

Oh, jazz and love are the hardest things to describe from rationale.
Mel Torme

One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.
Lou Reed

One thing I like about jazz, kid, is that I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Do you?
Bix Beiderbecke

Painting, I think it’s like jazz.
Brian Eno

‘Swing’ is an adjective or a verb, not a noun. All jazz musicians should swing. There is no such thing as a ‘swing band’ in music.
Artie Shaw

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

The Jazz Diet will make you thinner, taller, smarter, richer, happier, hipper, leaner, meaner, keener, more attractive to members of every sex, and able to do those newspaper cryptoquote puzzles in one go.
Unknown Author

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.
Louis Armstrong

The problem with jazz is that it is hidden in plain sight.
Peter Gordon

The reward for playing jazz is playing jazz.
John Lewis

The spirit of jazz is the spirit of openness.
Herbie Hancock

The value of jazz still has to be clarified. People involve themselves with its superficialities without digging for its soul.
Stan Getz

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

To jazz, or not to jazz, there is no question!
Louis Armstrong

To me if it’s anything, jazz is a verb-it’s more like a process than it is a thing.
Pat Metheny

To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that’s not what I play. I play black classical music.
Nina Simone

Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.
Paul Desmond

You can’t explain jazz to anyone without losing the experience because it’s feeling, not words.
Bill Evans

You don’t rehearse jazz to death to get the camera angles.
Stan Getz