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.
Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.
To me if it’s anything, jazz is a verb, it’s more like a process than it is a thing. It’s a form that demands that you bring to it things athat are valuable to you, that are personal to you. That, for me, is a pretty serious distinction that doesn’t have anything to do with blues, or swing, or any of these other things that tend to be listed as essentials in order for music to be jazz with a capital J
Works of art make rules, rules do not make works of art.
I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.
I’m an adventurer. I like invention, I like discovery.
There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.
To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.
Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.
Competitions are for horses,
Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.
My creed for art in general is that it should enrich the soul; it should teach spirituality by showing a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise… a part of yourself you never knew existed.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to decide where jazz starts or where it stops, where Tin Pan Alley begins and jazz ends, or even where the borderline lies between between classical music and jazz. I feel there is no boundary line.
I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing, even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.
All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.
I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.
Don’t fear mistakes. There are none.
Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re gonna be rewarded.
A creative artist works on his next composition because he was not satisfied with his previous one.
The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different color, a different voice.
There is no art without intention.
A good solo is like a book. It will start out in a phrase, it will go on in paragraphs, and then it will have a great ending.