Friday, November 5, 2010

Quotes by Duke Ellington about his "American Music"

Band leader and pianist, Duke Ellington called his music "American Music" rather than jazz. Here are some of his words and thoughts about music.

“What is music to you? What would you be without music? Music is everything. Nature is music (cicadas in the tropical night). The sea is music, the wind is music. The rain drumming on the roof and the storm raging in the sky are music. Music is the oldest entity. The scope of music is immense and infinite. It is the ‘esperanto’ of the world.”

"Roaming through the jungle of 'oohs' and 'ahs', searching for a more agreeable noise, I live a life of primitivity with the mind of a child and an unquenchable thirst for sharps and flats."

“Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don't want it.”

“I never had much interest in the piano until I realized that every time I played, a girl would appear on the piano bench to my left and another to my right.”

“Music is my mistress and she plays second fiddle to no one.”

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

“If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!”

“There is no art without intention. Playing music is like an act of murder; you play with intent to commit something."

“There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.”

“Playing ‘bop’ is like playing Scrabble with all the vowels missing.”

“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

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