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.
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.
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.
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.
Whatever you do, it's over when you do it - but first you have to do it.
Music has many uses and I think the most perfected use that music has is one of a healing quality.
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.
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.
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.
The idea is more important than the style you're playing in.
After I left Texas and went to California, I had a hard time getting anyone to play anything that I was writing, so I had to end up playing them myself. And that's how I ended up just being a saxophone player.
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.
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.
I remember once I read a book on mental illness and there was a nurse that had gotten sick. Do you know what she died from? From worrying about the mental patients not being able to get their food. She became a mental patient.
To me, human existence exists on a multiple level, not just on a two-dimensional level, not just having to be identified with what you do and what you say.
It's just someone has labelled us as having a different label to do what you do. I find that labels are the worst thing in the world for artistic expression.
Musicians tell me, if what I'm doing is right, they should never have gone to school.
I'm having this conversation with you now. I'm talking, but I'm thinking, feeling, smelling, and moving. Yet I'm concentrating on what you're saying. So that means there's more things going on in the body than just the present thing that the person's got you doing.
All the things that human beings suffer from are how their environment treats them, and how the elements of their planet affects their mind and body - like radiation, cancer, and all.
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.
Harmelody allows everybody to be an individual who does not have to imitate anybody else.
Jerry Garcia was one of the original American icons. He played naturally and beautifully.
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