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.
I don't try to please when I play. I try to cure.
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.
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.
The idea is more important than the style you're playing in.
Music has many uses and I think the most perfected use that music has is one of a healing quality.
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.
Whatever you do, it's over when you do it - but first you have to do it.
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.
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.
I think that those elements - light and sound - are beyond democratic. They're into the creative part of life.
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 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'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.
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.
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.
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.
The human being receives the pleasure from music, not from the argument over what it is.
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.
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