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Jazz Musician Quotes


"If you're making money people don't think you're playing Jazz. When you're not making money they think you're a great Jazz musician." - Pete Fountain

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

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

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

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

"I'm a jazz musician by education and vocation, but I don't think jazz should [ dictate] what I want to do." - Dave Douglas

"I'm basically a musician." - Squarepusher

"An uncompromisingly serious musician." - Rory Gallagher

"I don't think of myself as a jazz musician but a medicine man." - Abdullah Ibrahim

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

"It is rare that even a jazz musician finds an individual voice." - David Baker

"The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician." - Louis Armstrong

"A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges." - Benny Green

"My music is jazz." - Yusef Lateef

"Some people think I'm a rock 'n' roll musician and some think I'm a jazz musician but, for me, there is no difference." - Georgie Fame

"If he's a true symphony artist, he knows better than that because he knows that the only truly creative musician is the jazz musician." - Buddy Rich

"I don't like heroin, unless you're a jazz musician and then you have to be on it because jazz is the sound of heroin." - John Waters

"You know, it's funny... when you're making money, people don't think you're playing jazz. Now when you're not making money, people think that you're a good jazz musician." - Pete Fountain

"At a certain point, I became a kind of musician that has tunnel vision about jazz. I only listened to jazz and classical music." - Herbie Hancock

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

"The first jazz musician was a trumpeter, Buddy Bolden, and the last will be a trumpeter, the archangel Gabriel." - Wynton Marsalis

"He's not a performer, he's not a composer, he's not even a musician, but Norman Granz is Mr. Jazz." - Oscar Peterson

"When I'm working behind a camera, I feel like I'm trying to achieve something like a jazz musician does." - Jack Welpott

"Once the jazz musician learns all the fundamentals they can keep track of a lot of choices in an instant." - Sheena Iyengar

"I cut myself off from the mainstream of jazz. It stood me in good stead later on, as a musician." - Dave Van Ronk

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

"Jazz is democracy in music." - Wynton Marsalis

"I can show you that I have played with just about every jazz musician, every African musician, every blues musician. It's not like I'm cashing in on a false concept. This is what I do." - Carlos Santana

"I would not describe myself as an avid jazz fan and I am not a jazz musician myself. However, that is not to say that jazz does not play a vital and important role in my life." - Nat Wolff

"I really love jazz, but I will never be a jazz musician as much as I dream. But, I think that the jazz music I love is there in my music." - Laura Mvula

"I'm not a jazz artist. Don't get me wrong now, it's all music to me. I just played music and if it's likeable, someone liked the sound, then fine, but I'm not interested in being a jazz musician. I don't consider myself a jazz musician. I don't have anything to do with that word." - Pharoah Sanders

"I'm not a jazz musician, because, I mean, firstly, I can't play anything. I'm not bad on the tamborine. I have a certain way with the triangle. But I'm not a jazz musician ... my band, they always joke, they always say that I'm a disposable, pop, jazz superstar." - Michael Buble

"Jay Ashby is simply a great musician!" - Paul Simon

"Mose Allison is a beautiful musician." - Willie Dixon

"I know I'm an African-American, and I know I play the saxophone, but I'm not a jazz musician. I'm not a classical musician, either. My music is like my life: It's in between these areas." - Anthony Braxton

"I always tell my students when you're going to be a jazz musician the first thing you've got to do is be a professional musician, and that means you have to feed yourself with the instrument." - Lester Bowie

"I know I'm an African-American, and I know I play the saxophone, but I'm not a jazz musician. I'm not a classical musician, either. My music is like my life: It's in between these areas." - Anthony Braxton

"If you truly have expertise - and expertise can be say a chess master who has really mastered something or an artist or a musician of some sort you know if you give a jazz musician..." - Sheena Iyengar

"A jazz musician is a combination orator, dialectician, mathematician, athlete, entertainer, poet, singer, dancer, diplomat, educator, student, comedian, artist, seducer, public masturbator, and general all-round good fellow." - Steve Lacy

"I fear that I won't get better and that I won't have time to practice. To be called a "jazz musician" - it's a big responsibility." - Esperanza Spalding

"It is jazz music that called me to be a musician and I have always sang the songs that moved me the most." - Harry Connick Jr

"Eclecticism is the word. Like a jazz musician who creates his own style out of the styles around him, I play by ear." - Ralph Ellison

"I always had a great appreciation for jazz, but I'm a very pedestrian musician. I get by. I like to think that my main instrument is vocabulary." - Tom Waits

"It is jazz music that called me to be a musician and I have always sang the songs that moved me the most." - Harry Connick, Jr.

"Jazz has been such a force in music, that any musician, including classical composers, have been influenced, and obviously performers, also." - Yo-Yo Ma

"Some people are born with a brain that has this weird, magical mathematical thing that makes them an amazing jazz musician." - Andy Richter

"I'd have no trouble being the barbecue kingpin of America. I'd just add it to all the other things I am: jazz musician, carpenter, architect, engineer and revolutionary." - Bobby Seale

"The worst thing about the life of a jazz musician on the road is getting to the gig. Once you're there and playing, it's marvelous." - Dave Brubeck

"Jazz has been such a force in music, that any musician, including classical composers, have been influenced, and obviously performers, also." - Yoyo Ma

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

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

"Jazz is the music of unemployment." - Frank Zappa

"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

"Jazz is the music of the body." - Anais Nin

"The jazz musician's function is to feel," - Lennie Tristano

"Every "mistake" is an opportunity in jazz." - Stefon Harris

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

"A jazz musician is not a jazz musician when he or she is eating dinner or when he or she is with his parents or spouse or neighbors. He's above all a human being . . . the true artform is being a human being." - Herbie Hancock

"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

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

"We're having a hard time understanding where jazz is going. What happened to jazz?" - Ken Burns

"I was going to say is that I come from a rock background, but also I was super interested in jazz for a long time. I was training to be a jazz musician for quite a while. I never trained to be a classical composer or player, but I did train to play jazz." - Jherek Bischoff

"I don't think I've ever been true to jazz. There's always a kind of jazz element to what I do. There are a very few genres that I haven't tried out, really, in what I've been doing. As a jazz musician, you can kind of mess about with things with a certain level of musicianship, which helps." - Jamie Cullum

"My father is a jazz musician, so I grew up hearing jazz. My parents loved it, but I didn't like it. It went on for too long. Yes, I had certain teachers that really inspired me, like Danny Barker, and John Longo. And I had no idea that I would have any impact on jazz." - Wynton Marsalis

"I grew up in a home filled with music and had an early appreciation of jazz since my dad was a jazz musician. Beginning at around age three I started singing with his band and jazz music has continued to be one of my three passions along with acting and writing. I like to say jazz music is my musical equivalent of comfort food. It's always where I go back to when I want to feel grounded," - Molly Ringwald

"I've been a musician longer than I've been an actor." - Jamie Campbell Bower

"I'd rather be a musician than a rockstar." - George Harrison

"I did everything I could to not be a musician" - Dhani Harrison

"A poet is a musician who can't sing." - Patrick Rothfuss

"[Bach is the] reason I became a musician" - Glenn Gould

"I'm a painter first, and a musician second." - Joni Mitchell

"You're a musician, it is important that you suffer!" - Russell Brand

"I'd really like to do a biopic of a musician." - Minnie Driver

"I've been a musician longer than I've been an actor." - Minnie Driver

"I am an untrained musician and a common man's singer." - Kailash Kher

"I have no illusions about being a genius musician. I pride myself on being a soldier, a warrior for jazz. I trained a lot of young people, and I've learned my lessons well. I'd like to keep the flame burning." - Phil Woods

"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." - Duke Ellington

"Many an American jazz musician has been beguiled by the lush melodies and sumptuous rhythms of Brazilian music, but Peter Sprague has taken the romance a good deal further than most." - Andrew S. Gilbert

"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

"Grace Kelly plays with intelligence, wit and feeling. She has a great amount of natural ability and the ability to adapt. That is the hallmark of a first-class jazz musician." - Wynton Marsalis

"That's a skill that I'm proud of: to be able to be a jazz musician and go a bit crazy sometimes and other times be able to pull it all in and lay it down like a track." - Robert Glasper

"I play classical music almost exclusively. I never mastered jazz or gospel in the way that my mother did. She was a fine improvisational musician. I pretty much have to stick to what's written on the page." - Condoleezza Rice

"I actually wanted to be a jazz musician first. My grandparents introduced me to Louis Armstrong. I loved Louis Armstrong so I took up the trumpet and just did that every day and practiced that." - Douglas Booth

"My secret dream has always been to be a jazz musician. I tried the saxophone for a year or two when I was younger, but unfortunately I had to face the fact that I was not really talented!" - Gaspard Ulliel

"I went to Juilliard in New York and used to do cabarets just for fun. Occasionally, I would get together with a jazz musician and play at a restaurant for cash. And I've done some background vocals for recording artists." - Nicole Beharie

"In classical music, love is based on bitin' - imitation. It's not based on interpretation. A jazz musician, if he plays someone else's song, has a responsibility to make a distinct and original statement." - Todd Boyd

"I used to sing with my father's jazz band and then when I was ten years old a musician friend of his suggested that I try out for the first west coast production of Annie." - Molly Ringwald

"I was always very leery of my piano playing. As a young kid, I wanted to be a jazz musician, but my taste was far greater than my ability." - Mike Stoller

"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

"As a jazz musician, you have individual power to create the sound. You also have a responsibility to function in the context of other people who have that power also." - Wynton Marsalis

"If I was not a film-maker I'd probably be a musician. I like Kanye West, Jay-Z, R&B, classical, jazz and all kinds of music, but I'd say soulful World Music is my favorite." - Kasi Lemmons

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

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

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

"Jazz is part folk art, part progressive art," - Mulgrew Miller

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

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

"A jazz beat is a dynamic changing rhythm." - Ken Burns

"I think jazz is a wonderful learning tool." - John Otto

"Jazz is very much alive. Everywhere I go there's a new generation of musicians playing Jazz music." - Toots Thielemans

"I cringed when I heard myself described as a Jazz singer. I've always thought of myself as a Jazz vocalist." - Cassandra Wilson

"I don't really have a career as a jazz musician. I don't really have a career as a classical musician. I don't really have a career as a college professor, and yet I did all those things and I did them well. I put out some records in the 1980's and 1990's that changed the way some trumpet players played." - Paul Smoker

"The age of 18 seemed the right time to try something different in my life. Moving to the U.K. was a risk, and I was never confident that I could ever make a full-time living being a musician, but I had to try. Initially, I worked as a jazz musician in pubs or with bands." - Manfred Mann

"I started as a musician. I play the saxophone, but from the age of 17, I realised that it's very hard to make a living as a jazz musician in Australia. So I went for an audition and got an acting job and, fortunately, I completely fell in love with that." - John Polson

"Jazz is a big thing with me. It's a very big passion of mine, to play it. I'm an amateur musician and I love everything about it. I was obsessed with jazz when I was 15 years old and I know a lot about it because I've loved it so much." - Woody Allen

"My short answer would be that there is no greatest jazz musician of the century. Jazz, like any valid art form, finds its greatness in its expression of the human spirit, and, to me, this ca' be reduced to a contest." - Bennie Wallace

"The jazz guitarist Peter Sprague calls his home recording studio SpragueLand, but sometimes it seems that the moniker better captures the way he has turned the entire southland into his own musical playground. Sprague is a highly versatile musician who draws on the wellsprings of jazz and Brazilian music as primary influences." - Andrew S. Gilbert

"I don't listen to a lot of music when I have my free time. But I'll go to a jazz club and have a drink and listen to a good jazz musician. Or sometimes in the morning, if I want to put myself in a good mood, I'll put on some Latin music." - Joshua Bell

"My short answer would be that there is no greatest jazz musician of the century. Jazz, like any valid art form, finds its greatness in its expression of the human spirit, and, to me, this can't be reduced to a contest." - Bennie Wallace

"My short answer would be that there is no greatest jazz musician of the century. Jazz, like any valid art form, finds its greatness in its expression of the human spirit, and, to me, this can't be reduced to a contest." - Bennie Wallace

"It's always difficult to define what jazz is or what jazz isn't. To me, the only definition that I can think of is it's music where a lot of different elements are played at the same time. The harmonic, the melodic... You're pushing the boundaries on every level. That could be true of rhythm and blues as well. I'm a musician." - David Sanborn

"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

"Sometimes when I do a joke and it doesn't get a lot of laughs, it kind of feels like I'm doing jazz. That's kinda cool because jazz is cool, but sometimes jazz sucks ... Maybe I'm the Kenny G of comedy." - Mike Birbiglia

"Jazz was always cool. That was what I liked about jazz - it was always cool. Now I see the cats that were basically cool getting kind of uncool. So that ruins what I feel about jazz." - Van Morrison

"There's something really natural to me about being what they call in the business a "hyphenate." Being a musician-actor or writer-musician-actor." - Lola Kirke

"Any musician who can stop may be a musician, but they're no artist. If it's in your blood, it can't stop flowing." - Paul Westerberg

"We don't live in a jazz world, unfortunately. I think if I had lived in a jazz world, I would have done OK. I'm not sure I would have done great. I'm a lover of jazz music, so I would have been happy, don't get me wrong. I go to jazz concerts like the biggest jazz fan in world. The drag is that I don't play jazz for a living." - George Benson

"I did, I was in Europe a lot. I would say, mid 20s to late 30s. Less so in the last ten or twelve years. Based on some political stuff and other things, I think I'm not the only musician, the only American jazz musician that's not going to Europe quite as much. I think we're seen a little differently in the world, unfortunately, than we were pre-Iraq invasion and things like that." - Jon Gordon

"The hardest thing about being a young musician on the jazz scene is that there are so many styles of music, jazz and otherwise, that you're exposed to. The challenge is to use all that in your own way, to personalize all that has come before you and all that is happening around you. To get the music the way you want it, there's a lot of work involved." - Dave Kikoski

"One of the most obvious aspects of the music to people who know jazz is: How does it feel in the swing? These are things that are very subtle and that jazz musician appreciate in a particular way. I appreciate the way Tommy Flanagan swings, the way that Barry Harris swings, the great pulse that Hank Jones and Bill Evans have - end every one of them is different." - Chuck Israels

"Just because I'm playing Jazz I don't forget about me. I play or write me the way I feel through Jazz." - Charles Mingus

"Jazz music is a style, not compositions; any kind of music may be played in Jazz if one has the knowledge." - Jelly Roll Morton

"There aren't any labels - all jazz means is improvization and you can never play a tune the same way twice. So jazz spills over into everything." - Van Morrison

"Jazz comes from a tradition where it swings. Swing was the main ingredient of jazz. And once it loses the swing...well, that's it." - Van Morrison

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

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

"The musician is perhaps the most modest of animals, but he is also the proudest." - Erik Satie

"All a musician can do is to get closer to the source." - John Coltrane

"When you are so strongly drawn to music, you can't not be a musician." - Debbie Davies

"If you want to be a musician, study your craft. Study music." - Billy Eckstine

"I work very hard at being the best musician I can be because I love it." - Diana Krall

"The great artist, whether he be musician, painter, or poet, is known for this absolute unexpectedness." - Loren Eiseley

"A good musician should say: We can live without air but not without music!" - Mehmet Murat Ildan

"A devastating culmination of the elegant and the funky, a really sensational musician with enormous depth." - Nick Lowe

"It was like a musician playing notes. Everything we trained worked." - Wladimir Klitschko

"The musician who always plays on the same string, is laughed at." - Horace

"A man must not go to law because the musician keeps false time with his foot." - Jeremy Taylor

"My name's Darren. I'm a musician, part time idiot. That's a full time job actually." - Darren Criss

"Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living." - Kirke Mechem

"The soul of the great musician can only be expressed in music." - Margaret Fuller



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