even when their kids were starving
They all thought the Queen was charming'
'The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death', The Housemartins (1987)
takes place not only in performance but in the way a band develops.
There is a group decision perpetually taking place, a collective
intelligence that wants everyone to express themselves. That's the
ideal. Jazz's unique shot at greatness lies in its active creation,
which is, as it were, off the cuff. So much of Western art has self-consciously
strived to appear artless; jazz has the unique distinction of artlessly
becoming artful. To close I offer a scenario: if all the written
music in the world suddenly burned up in a flash, who would still
do a gig the same night, with complete strangers, and no rehearsals?
sleeve notes to 'Art of the Trio 4 - Back at the Vanguard', Brad
an earnest interviewer asked (trombonist) Joe Nanton if he considered
(Duke) Ellington a genius, Nanton replied, "I don't know about
that, but, Jesus, he can eat!"
From 'Jazz Anecdotes', Bill Crow (1991)
A lot has been said about you but the main thing is that people
recognise the fact that you are able to play with real sincerity
every style of music. Not only every style but you can play all
parts of a given piece at the same time on this one instrument:
the bass. Now because there's a lot of people going crazy trying
to duplicate what you do, people have become great fans of the bass,
giving it quite a bit of attention. How do you really feel about
Give me a gig!
Pastorius brings interviewer and bassist Jerry Jemmott back to earth.
From 'Jaco Pastorius - Modern Electric Bass' (1985). View on YouTube
are always people who don't want to make changes, who are set in
their ways. It's just the same today. We know we are going to find
new and better music. We wouldn't be happy if it were to change
back to Bing Crosby or Les Paul or Mary Ford, or whatever it was.
Nothing wrong with it, but it's gone. There's a new kind of music,
and it's on its way".
Paul interviewed by Ed Pilkington in The Guardian (July 24 2008)
are only two kinds of songs; there's the blues, and there's zip-a-dee-doo-dah".
to Townes Van Zandt
musicians are the only workers I can think of who are willing to
put in a full shift for pay and then go somewhere else and continue
to work for free".
Carlin talking about jam sessions
people want sacred experiences they will find them here. If they
want profane experiences, theyll find them too. I take no
Mark Rothko quoted in Newsweek (23 January, 1961)
day I met Ornette [Coleman], it was about 90 degrees and he had
on an overcoat. I was scared of him".
Don Cherry quoted in Jazz (December 1963)
sum: humani nil a me alienum puto [I am a human being, so nothing
human is strange to me]
From Heauton Timorumenos [The Self-Tormentor], Terence
you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the
best - that is inspiration.
Notes on Cinematography, Robert Bresson (1975)
have no interest in being a musician. My interest is in being a
Martino interviewed by Bill Donaldson, April 23, 2001, for Cadence
magazine (December 2005)
not just a saxophone player, he's something else. He's iconic, a
leader without having to explicitly say it. I think you'd follow
Sonny into war".
Watts on Sonny Rollins, quoted in The Observer Music Magazine, Sunday
24 January 2010
is unpredictable and it wont behave itself",
J Johnson interviewed in The Jazz Educators Journal, October 1994
it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
Believing what we don't believe
Does not exhilarate.
That if it be, it be at best
An ablative estate --
This instigates an appetite
1741, from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
jazz becoming terminally fossilized? It is not impossible. If this
should be the fate of jazz, it will not be much consolation that
Clint Eastwood has buried Bird in a celluloid mausoleum and that
every hairdresser and cosmetics store plays tapes of Billie Holiday.
However, jazz has shown extraordinary powers of survival and self-renewal
inside a society not designed for it and which does not deserve
it. It is too early to think that its potential is exhausted. Besides,
what is wrong with just listening and letting the future take care
Uncommon People Resistance, Rebellion and Jazz,
Eric Hobsbawm (1998)
do they know of cricket who only cricket know?
Beyond a Boundary, CLR James (1963)
English pianist Alan Clare was once intrigued with a workman who
was carrying out some remodelling in his house. Clare was playing
some recordings, and he began to notice that the workman was whistling
along with whatever music he put on Beethoven, Rachmaninoff,
it didnt seem to matter. Even if he hadnt heard it before
he had the natural musical ability to follow a melody closely and
almost automatically. Clare decided to give him a real test and
dug up his recording of Art Tatum doing Tea For Two,
with the ground breaking-chord changes Tatum introduced into the
tune. The workman never lost a beat nor did he lay out for a bar
or two to figure out what was going on. He tracked Tatum flawlessly
through all his changes, and when the record ended, he spoke for
the first time. He glanced at Clare and with classic English understatement
said, "Tricky fucker, aint he?"
Too Marvelous for Words The Life and Genius of Art
Tatum, James Lester (1994)