If you listen to a lot of the songs that are popular now, there's very little melody in there. People love the beat. But to musicians, it's melody, because we understand how elusive it is and how hard it is to hold.
The whole point is, give me a break with the standards. You go to the average jazz label and suggest a record and they want to know which standards you're going to play. I'm saying let's break the formula.
Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you.
That's kind of like how jazz is sometimes. You're out there predicting the future, and no one believes you.
I don't care who likes it or buys it. Because if you use that criterion, Mozart would have never written Don Giovanni, Charlie Parker never would have played anything but swing music. There comes a point at which you have to stand up and say, this is what I have to do.
Humans are imperfect. That's one of the reasons that classical and jazz are in trouble. We're on the quest for the perfect performance and every note has to be right. Man, every note is not right in life.
You don't know what you like, you like what you know. In order to know what you like, you have to know everything.
I think that if you keep banging at the door all you need is a little foothold, a little tiny foothold, and then the rest will take care of itself.
We all played bad before we played good.
What is jazz? It, It's almost like asking, What is French? Jazz is a musical language. It's a musical dialect that actually embodies the spirit of America.
The biggest problem with American music right now, is that kids don't listen. They come by it honestly, Americans don't listen anyway. When people go to concerts, they say I'm going to see... not, I'm going to hear.
You know, being America, being the land of "number ones", everyone wants to be a leader before they follow.
The lion's share of what I hear right now are people who, intentional or accidental, have avoided all jazz prior to 1960. And all the musicians who were successful in the '60s spent their entire lives, prior to 1960, listening to all the musicians these people avoid.
Pop doesn't really look back. It can't. What makes pop work is simplicity.
My dad was a musician, it was just what he did, like another guy's dad drives a meat truck. Our house was normal. We weren't taken with the fact our dad was a musician.
I like to make records sound good. I'm more like a reducer than a producer. If an artist cannot produce themselves, what's the point?
So much of Jazz doesn't have an audience other than music students or musicians.
You hear it in your brain. Whatever makes sense. Some songs work well as quartet songs, sometimes they don't.
When you're dealing with music without words, titles are more a means of identification than anything else. What's the point of getting lofty?
One of the things that I loved about listening to Miles Davis is that Miles always had an instinct for which musicians were great for what situations. He could always pick a band, and that was the thing that separated him from everybody else.
My job is to write songs that have emotional meaning to me.
If it's not going to sound like Terrapin Station, what's the point of playing Terrapin Station?
Jazz is so incestuous that it's starting to kill itself.
The way to learn the language is to rip off other players. As Benny Golson told me, "We all start off sounding like other cats. And gradually, a lick here or there,we start to sound like ourselves. But it takes a long time to do so..." That'swhat he told me, and it worked for me.
There's not one Tin Pan Alley song on my record.
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