It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.
Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time.
For me, being an innovator doesn't mean being more intelligent, more rich, it's not a word, it's an action.
I don't try to please when I play. I try to cure.
We in the Western world suffer from too many categories and classes; we've forgotten that we all still have diapers on. We've separated music from life.
Music has many uses and I think the most perfected use that music has is one of a healing quality.
You've got to realize. In the western world, regardless of what color you are, what title the music is, it's all played by the same notes.
The idea is more important than the style you're playing in.
Whatever you do, it's over when you do it - but first you have to do it.
I have often read critical pieces where the critic said that what the composer was trying to do didn't come off. I have wondered what the critic meant if he didn't know what the composer was trying to do.
You don't have to worry about being a number one, number two, or number three. Numbers don't have anything to do with placement. Numbers only have something to do with repetition.
That's what I was trying to say when we were talking about sound. I think that every person, whether they play music or don't play music, has a sound - their own sound, that thing that you're talking about.
The only thing my mother would say about my music-I'd say, "Mom, listen to this," and she'd say, "Junior, I know who you are.
I think that those elements - light and sound - are beyond democratic. They're into the creative part of life.
I asked my mother could I have an instrument. She said, 'Well if you go out and save your money.' So I went and got - I made me a shine box. I went out and started shining shoes, and I'd bring whatever I made.
Even when you write it, someone's got to play it. So if you can play it and bypass all the rest of the things, you're still doing as great as someone that has spent forty years trying to find out how to do that. I'm really pro-human beings, pro-expression of everything.
Most of my relationships have been like that - with record companies. I've never had a legitimate business relationship with a company. I've always had a personal relationship with someone in the company.
I wasn't so interested in being paid. I wanted to be heard. That's why I'm broke.
I've never had a relationship with a record executive. I always went to the record company by someone that liked my playing. Then they would get fired, and I'd be left with the record company. And then - because they got fired - the record company wouldn't do anything for me.
If you decide you want to be treated good, and you treat someone else good, or you want to learn something, it's information. It's getting the right, good information.
It seems to me that in the western world, culture has something to do with appearance. A person that's out creating good stuff has got to appreciate someone when they take the time to have an appearance that goes with what they're doing.
Originally, I wanted to be a composer. I always tell people, 'I think of myself as a composer.
I decided, if I'm going to be poor and black and all, the least thing I'm going to do is to try and find out who I am. I created everything about me.
I don't know what they're thinking about. Just because someone says, 'I like what you do' or something: They might like it today and tomorrow they might not. I've had that experience with record companies.
The human being receives the pleasure from music, not from the argument over what it is.
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