50 Jazz Quotes from Legendary Musicians

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These jazz quotes from legendary musicians will give you the ultimate flashback.

Music is the art of sound. It expresses the ideas and emotions of the musician in different forms. Great music can make us feel the emotion the musician is conveying.

But, aside from that, music can bring us together. It can make us feel connected to those around us. It is where language, distance, and borders do not matter. It is all about the emotions that we can share with others.

Although music has a lot of genres, jazz is one of the most popular forms ever created. It’s the kind of music where improvisation is essential. Jazz is about finding your own sound and style. It’s about making something familiar into something personal.

Here are some jazz quotes that will make you feel connected with others.

Don’t forget to also check out these music quotes on how it heals our soul.

Inspirational jazz music quotes

1. “When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people.” – John Coltrane

2. “Master your instrument. Master the music. And then forget all that bullshit and just play.” – Charlie Parker

3. “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” – Charlie Parker

4. “Life is a lot like jazz. It’s best when you improvise.” – George Gershwin

5. “If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying.” – Coleman Hawkins

6. “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles Davis

7. “If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterward.” – Joe Pass

8. “Jazz is something you have to feel, something you have to live.” – Ray Brown

9. “It’s not exclusive, but inclusive, which is the whole spirit of jazz.” – Herbie Hancock

10. “It’s like an act of murder. You play with intent to commit something.” – Duke Ellington

Famous Jazz quotes and sayings about life

11. “Jazz stands for freedom.” – Dave Brubeck

12. “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” – Jimi Hendrix

13. “Making the simple complicated is commonplace.” – Charles Mingus

14. “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

15. “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington

16. “Jazz is about being in the moment.” – Herbie Hancock

17. “Jazz is one of the best things that you can find in your life, it can always be your friend.” – George Gershwin

18. “You should never be comfortable, man. Being comfortable fouled up a lot of musicians.” – Miles Davis

19. “Jazz and love are the hardest things to describe from rationale.” – Mel Torme

20. “There are no wrong notes.” – Thelonius Monk

Beautiful jazz quotes and one liners

21. “They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” – Charlie Parker

22. “Jazz music is an intensified feeling of nonchalance.” – Francoise Sagan

23. “As any jazz musician knows, it takes flexibility and adaptability for improvisation to create beauty.” – Doc Childre

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

25. “Jazz is the big brother of Revolution. Revolution follows it around.” – Miles Davis

26. “Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music.” – Nina Simone

27. “You will never know what the meaning of Jazz is if ask what it means.” – Louis Armstrong

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

29. “We must be as pure as our music.” – Albert Ayler

30. “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.” – Art Blakey

Awesome jazz quotes about improvisation

31. “Jazz musicians are the coolest people on the planet. Can I have some cool?” – Jon Stewart

32. “In my view, a jazz musician is a great musician.” – Michael Parkinson

33. “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

34. “Jazz was not only built in the minds of the great ones but on the backs of the ordinary ones.” – Cab Calloway

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

36. “If you’re in jazz and more than ten people like you, you’re labeled commercial.” – Herbie Mann

37. “What is jazz? It’s almost like asking, What is French? Jazz is a musical language— a dialect that actually embodies the spirit of America.” – Branford Marsalis

38. “Music is my religion. Music is the only thing that has never failed me. People let you down, music won’t.” – Gary Bartz

39. “The real innovators did their innovating just by being themselves.” – Count Basie

40. “I felt the responsibility to present a viable alternative to the popular electric sound.” – Ron Carter

Funny jazz quotes

41. “I can’t understand these guys who just have to have your autograph. I asked one of them, ‘What do you do when you get home, take it out and look at it?’” – Artie Shaw

42. “Well, I’m too old to pimp, and too young to die, so I’m just gon’ keep playin’” – Clark Terry

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

44. “We’re not going to play the blues anymore. Let the white folks play the blues. They got ‘em, so they can keep ‘em.” – Miles Davis

45. “All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.” – Louis Armstrong

46. “Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny.” – Frank Zappa

47. “I never practice my guitar. From time to time I just open the case & throw in a piece of raw meat.” – Wes Montgomery

48. “If you find a note tonight that sounds good, play the same damn note every night!” – Count Basie

49. “I don’t care if a dude is purple with green breath as long as he can swing.” – Miles Davis

50. “I tried practicing for a few weeks and ended up playing too fast.” – Paul Desmond

What did you learn from these jazz quotes?

Often, musicians refer to music as the language of the soul, and if we take that into account, we should all agree that jazz is a beautiful soul.

More importantly, music fills in the gaps, what words fail to convey, especially in jazz. Jazz music relies heavily on the spontaneity of skills, emotion, and the environment. It is a complex tune yet so beautiful it creates an impact on anyone who can hear it.

Jazz music is a reflection of the musician. It is like directly looking at the musician’s soul. It is almost like having a conversation. It is exciting and relaxing, both at the same time.

So, why don’t you turn up a piece of Jazz music right now and experience the vibe? Hopefully, these Jazz quotes and sayings will help you appreciate music as it is.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Charles L. Hinsley

    I appreciated all the quotes. Not only were they inspirational, but they offered a rare insight into the legends that we have all heard about. They also gave a level of humanity to those who spoke them and validated that they were real people who lived life with all the good, the bad, and the ugliness it offers and they found a way to make life beautiful through their music.

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