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Jazz Improvisation Quotes


"There are wonderful things in Jazz, the improvisation, the liveliness, the being at one with the audience." - Henri Matisse

"I feel that Jazz improvisation is the ultimate. You have to create on the spot, the essence of this music." - Sonny Rollins

"Jazz Improvisation means that practice is not as straightforward as it would be when you simply have a score to play." - Ahmad Jamal

"In Jazz, improvisation isn't a matter of just making any ol' thing up. Jazz, like any language, has its own grammer and vocabulary. There's no right or wrong, just some choices that are better than others." - Wynton Marsalis

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

"The only element of jazz that I keep is improvisation." - Jan Garbarek

"Composition is selective improvisation." - Igor Stravinsky

"If you go back to the roots of jazz, it was all about COLLECTIVE improvisation." - Henry Threadgill

"As any jazz musician knows, it takes flexibility and adaptability for improvisation to create beauty." - Doc Childre

"There are editing procedures for talks just as there are editing procedures in jazz improvisation." - David Antin

"Jazz is a music that really allows a person to express his deepest self, his most personal self - Africa being the primary source of jazz. Naturally, improvisation and swing are a part of jazz, improvisation being the key." - Harold Land

"Organization is the enemy of improvisation." - Anonymous

"As far as I'm concerned, the essentials of jazz are: melodic improvisation, melodic invention, swing, and instrumental personality." - Mose Allison

"The genius of our country is improvisation, and jazz reflects that. It's our great contribution to the arts." - Ken Burns

"Improvisation in the jazz sense - like the business sense - is not formless. It is built on a skill set. Jazz, for example, involves selecting a tune." - John Kao

"I listen to jazz mainly. Mainstream jazz." - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

"I listen to jazz mainly. Mainstream jazz." - Kareem Abduljabbar

"Jazz is my adventure." - Thelonious Monk

"Interview, Jazz Professional, 1966" - Dudley Moore

"I've always loved jazz." - Rita Coolidge

"My music is jazz." - Yusef Lateef

"Through improvisation, jazz teaches you about yourself. And through swing, it teaches you that other people are individuals too. It teaches you how to coordinate with them." - Wynton Marsalis

"Improvisation is the ability to talk to oneself." - Cecil Taylor

"Improvisation is just writing in front of an audience." - Carl Reiner

"I'm very bad with improvisation. I hate it." - Christoph Waltz

"Louis Armstrong is the master of the jazz solo. He became the beacon, the light in the tower, that helped the rest of us navigate the tricky waters of jazz improvisation." - Ellis Marsalis, Jr.

"But no one, when you stop to think, has ever equated abstract expressionism as a movement with jazz music. It's based on improvisation. The rhythms, the personal involvement, all of this is part of the jazz experience." - Romare Bearden

"The reward for playing jazz is playing jazz." - John Lewis

"It's not jazz as we know jazz here in America." - Les Paul

"I grew up around jazz. I love jazz." - Baz Luhrmann

"And more than anything, I like the improvisation of jazz. That's the same thing with DJ-ing. There's so much improvisation you can do with cuttin' and scratchin' that's reminiscent of jazz music, because it's all about how you feel. You're capturing a vibe and just going with it." - Dj Jazzy Jeff

"Jazz is America's classical music." - Billy Taylor

"Jazz is not background music." - Horace Silver

"I'm not a jazz singer." - Boz Scaggs

"I'm a great jazz fan." - Vidal Sassoon

"Improvisation was the blood and bone of jazz, and in the classic, New Orleans jazz it was collective improvisation in which each performer, seemingly going his own melodic way, played in harmony, dissonance, or counterpoint with the improvisations of his colleagues. Quite unlike ragtime, which was written down in many cases by its composers and could be repeated note for note (if not expression for expression) by others, jazz was a performer's not a composer's art." - Russell Lynes

"That's what it is-it's jazz. It's just jazz. That's what the whole thing is about to me. It's about what's happening right now in this context. This conversation is jazz to a certain extent. It's improvisation. What appeals to me about music is the improvization. That's what I don't like about the media-they're not living it." - Van Morrison

"I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don't think that's quite it; it's more like jazz. There is more improvisation." - Warren G. Bennis

"Jazz, after all, is a highly personal, lightweight form - like poetry, it is an art of surprise - that, shaken down, amounts to the blues, some unique vocal and instrumental sounds, and the limited, elusive genius of improvisation." - Whitney Balliett

"Within the context of Western music, jazz has always contained certain radical or revolutionary aspects. These are: improvisation, collective composition and individuality or the personal sound (based on amazing variations in sonority, timbre and pitch)." - Michael Snow

"Remember that a book is many drafts - mine certainly are. It's improvisation. It's as much jazz and the way we talk and the way I heard people preach coming up as it is writing." - John Edgar Wideman

"Not only was I fiddling around at the keyboard but there were all these other children of all backgrounds wanting to play every sort of music bits of classical, jazz, pop, improvisation. The Guardian - 26/05/2000" - Joanna MacGregor

"I continued studying by myself in the field of jazz with my own technique of improvisation, walking bass lines, rhythms, all kinds of stuff, which I created for myself." - Miroslav Vitous

"Not with the Rochester Philharmonic, but I formed my own orchestra, made up of musicians from the Eastman School, where I'm on the faculty now, direct the Jazz Ensemble and teach improvisation classes." - Chuck Mangione

"I got into trad jazz, then modern jazz, then avant-garde jazz, between the ages of 16 to 18." - Roy Harper

"Jazz is freedom. You think about that." - Thelonious Monk

"Jazz music is the power of now." - Wynton Marsalis

"Science Fiction is the jazz of literature." - David Brin

"Jazz shouldn't have any mandates. Jazz is not supposed to be something that's required to sound like jazz. For me, the word 'jazz' means, 'I dare you.'" - Wayne Shorter

"All bad jazz sounds like Woody Woodpecker." - Leo Kottke

"I am a complete jazz nerd." - Sam Amidon

"Intellectuals, generally, no longer take jazz seriously." - Tom Wolfe

"Jazz is progressive, and it's alive." - Kat Edmonson

"Jazz is about being in the moment." - Herbie Hancock

"Painting, I think it's like jazz." - Brian Eno

"I was exposed to jazz early on." - Mark White

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

"Jazz is people's music, a collectivity." - Steve Lacy

"Improvisation is the ability to create something very spiritual, something of one's own." - Sonny Rollins

"You have to practice improvisation, let no one kid you about it!" - Art Tatum

"To create characters, one must build background. And one of the tools we use is improvisation" - Harvey Keitel

"Composition is frozen improvisation." - Igor Stravinsky

"Life is improvisation." - Tina Fey

"Improvisation is the expression of the accumulated yearnings, dreams, and wisdom of the soul." - Yehudi Menuhin

"Improvisation is the art of being completely O.K. with not knowing what the f- you're doing" - Mick Napier

"The improvisation had to be in public, because you only get value playing to strangers." - Keith Johnstone

"I allow a lot of room for improvisation and funny stuff. I always feel planned." - Michael Bay

"I love improvisation." - Nora Dunn

"My gigs are built on improvisation: I go out there and I'm like the Energizer bunny." - Meat Loaf

"We did very little improvisation on camera, and once in a while we did." - Peter Tork

"Improvisation is terribly haphazard." - Leo Ornstein

"Improvisation sometimes seemed more like jazz than acting, like verbal jazz, with the actors playing a theme back and forth, and then introducing another theme, incorporating it, somehow trying to work their way all together to a meaning of some kind, or at least a conclusion." - Alan Arkin

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

"Music represents nature. Nature represents life. Jazz represents nature. Jazz is life." - Sonny Rollins

"The jazz and blues clubs are like the jazz and blues musicians - they're disappearing." - Buddy Guy

"I've listened to Jazz since I was born and always knew I'd be a Jazz singer!" - Jane Monheit

"So I went into jazz and performed in jazz clubs all over the country." - Cy Coleman

"I think you have to have a jazz pedigree to be on jazz radio." - Rita Coolidge

"I got my love of jazz from my stepfather, who was a jazz musician." - Flea

"I've been around jazz and jazz musicians most of my life." - Kenneth Rexroth

"Kenny G is not real jazz. I don't even think Wynton Marsalis is real jazz. I don't think Harry Connick Jr. is real jazz. If there is such a thing as real jazz, The Lounge Lizards is real jazz, Henry Threadgill is real jazz, Bill Frisell is real jazz, you know?" - John Lurie

"I hated improvisation because in my early days as an actor, improvisation meant somebody had just come down from Oxford and they were doing a play above a pub in Kentish Town, and the biggest ego would win." - Peter Capaldi

"Composing is improvisation slowed down." - Wayne Shorter

"In a society like ours, politics is improvisation. To the artful dodger rather than the true believer goes the prize." - Gore Vidal

"There is really not that much improvisation in my films. There is an acceptance of a chance." - Michael Snow

"Legislation is a matter of more or less intelligent improvisation aiming at palliating conditions by means of patchwork policies." - John Dewey

"Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation- experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way" - Paul Theroux

"Improvisation is a compositional method." - Evan Parker

"I've always been into improvisation." - Tommy Chong

"To sing a song is like whispering to a child's ear. It is an art heavily relying on improvisation." - Andrea Bocelli

"I think that music, or at least the kind of music that I make, benefits greatly from improvisation." - Ryan Adams

"Civilization has gotten further and further from the so-called 'natural' man, who uses all his faculties: perception, invention, improvisation." - Robert Green Ingersoll

"You can't teach it [jazz singing]. There's nobody who can teach you how to sing jazz. Either you know how to sing jazz, or you don't." - Tony Bennett

"I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don't think that's quite it; it's more like jazz. There is more improvisation. Someone once wrote that the sound of surprise is jazz, and if there's any one thing that we must try to get used to in this world, it's surprise and the unexpected. Truly, we are living in world where the only thing that's constant is change." - Warren G. Bennis

"I may be prejudiced, but I believe that jazz music has the strongest healing potential, and it's not just because I play it and love it so much. I feel that it's the improvisation in jazz that makes it so strong as a healing tool, what each individual gives to a tune from their heart and their soul when they take a solo. It's all spontaneous, and it's all love, and from the heart." - Horace Silver

"I think of myself as a jazz player, and my music as a natural extension of the jazz tradition. What I'm doing is completely free improvisation ('composing in real time') with nothing predetermined. I've had a lot of experience playing many different kinds of music and several different instruments, and since I tend not to waste anything, it all shows up somewhere in the music I'm playing now." - Richard Grossman

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

"It takes an intelligent ear to listen to Jazz." - Art Blakey

"Jazz is a beautiful word. I love it." - Dexter Gordon

"What kills me is that everybody thinks I like Jazz." - Samuel L Jackson

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

"Jazz speaks for life. This is triumphant music." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Jazz is so incestuous that it's starting to kill itself." - Branford Marsalis

"Jazz music is a language of the emotions." - Charles Mingus

"Jazz musicians have some outlaw in them somewhere." - Mike Zwerin

"Jazz is the continual pulsation of the now." - Pat Martino

"Jazz music just resonates with the frequency of me." - Esperanza Spalding

"Jazz: Music invented for the torture of imbeciles." - Henry Van Dyke

"Jazz was home. It created a hunger within me." - Dianne Reeves

"Nothing says "i came here to win" like jazz hands" - Josh Ramsay

"I also like Western classical music and jazz." - Nusrat F. A. Khan

"Shut up and let me see your jazz hands" - Gerard Way

"To me, jazz is a place where anything is possible." - Bill Frisell

"You know the rules. No jazz before a rumble." - S E Hinton

"Jazz music will continue to thrive, possibly in unexpected ways." - Pat Metheny

"An entire composition written in jazz could not live." - George Gershwin

"In my view a jazz musician is a great musician" - Michael Parkinson

"Jazz will be the classical music of the future." - Dizzy Gillespie

"Jazz groups have to make a living any way." - Lester Bowie

"Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny." - Frank Zappa

"Don't clap I'm not a jazz band for Christ's sake." - Dylan Moran

"Jazz: Music invented by demons for the torture of imbeciles." - Henry Van Dyke

"Phil Robson is a disturbingly good jazz guitar player!" - Dave Liebman

"I'd rather play jazz, I hate rock and roll." - Ginger Baker

"After I exhausted the blues thing, I got into jazz." - Robert Quine

"I recorded my first jazz record in the '70s." - Rita Coolidge

"I wanted to play some more grown-up music - jazz." - Rick Derringer

"In jazz, there is a lot of European influence harmonically." - Dexter Gordon

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

"I think I was supposed to play jazz." - Herbie Hancock

"I also like Western classical music and jazz." - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

"The way I was singing the songs was jazz" - Van Morrison

"I did jazz dance for a few years." - Sharon Van Etten

"I like rock music. I like jazz better, though." - Clarke Peters

"I have a bachelor's and a master's in jazz." - Jon Secada

"Jazz can be so serious, no sense of humor." - Chad Smith

"If it has more than three chords, it's jazz." - Lou Reed

"Tone on jazz guitars is a real tough issue." - Mark White

"Jazz came to America three hundred years ago in chains." - Paul Whiteman

"Jazz tickles your muscles, symphonies stretch your soul." - Paul Whiteman

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

"I was totally into jazz in my teens." - Andy Summers

"Well, being a jazz musician is not a rose garden!" - Toots Thielemans

"Everybody in all countries tries to play jazz." - Thelonious Monk

"Jazz music is to be played sweet, soft, plenty rhythm." - Jelly Roll Morton

"Diplomacy is like jazz: endless variations on a theme." - Richard Holbrooke

"Normal adults can doodle, amble, and drift with no need to assess risk, since there is normally no risk at all. Jazz improvisation seems less subject to standards of risk than surgery, and less than much formal athletic performance, as in a tennis match." - Ernest Sosa

"Most of the musicians that I'm playing with now have jazz backgrounds, so they're comfortable with improvisation. And they all know to make eye contact with me, and I'll give them some kind of sign when I think that the song's ending. Or maybe I don't even have to, because they all sort of feel it at the same time." - Larkin Grimm

"Jazz is all about improvisation and it's about the moment in time, doing it this way now, and you'll never do it this way twice. I've studied the masters. Why would I want to play ball after the guys who sit on a bench? I want to play like Michael Jordan." - Brian Mcknight

"I find Indian music very funky. I mean it's very soulful, with their own kind of blues. But it's the only other school on the planet that develops improvisation to the high degree that you find in jazz music. So we have a lot of common ground." - John Mclaughlin



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