Put it this way: Jazz is a good barometer of freedom... In its beginnings, the United States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.— Duke Ellington
The most delicious Duke Ellington quotes that are little-known but priceless
There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
If you have a great band with a mediocre drummer, you have a mediocre band.
If you have a mediocre band with a great drummer, you have a great band!
You have to stop listening in categories. The music is either good or it's bad.
Gray skies are just clouds passing over.
I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited.
Everybody in Canada seemed to listen to what they enjoyed, and nobody could tell them what to like, or what was the popular, or what was the In thing. Even today, it is very hard to brainwash a Canadian.
My mother told me I was blessed, and I have always taken her word for it.
Being born of - or reincarnated from - royalty is nothing Like being blessed. Royalty is inherited from another human being; blessedness comes from God.
A goal is a dream with a finish line.
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.
Love is indescribable and unconditional.
I could tell you a thousand things that it is not, but not one that it is. Either you have it or you haven't; there's no proof of it.
There is hardly any money interest in art, and music will be there when money is gone.
By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with.
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
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.
Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be too famous too young.
Self-discipline, as a virtue or an acquired asset, can be invaluable to anyone.
Music is my mistress and she plays second fiddle to no one.
New music? Hell, there's been no new music since Stravinsky.
The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.
A problem is your chance to do your best.
What does music mean to you? What would you do without music?
Critics have their purposes, and they're supposed to do what they do, but sometimes they get a little carried away with what they think someone should have done, rather than concerning themselves with what they did.
If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!
Create, and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste.
I don’t believe in categories of any kind, and when you speak of problems between blacks and whites in the U.S.A. you are referring to categories again.
A musical profit outweighs a financial loss.
San Francisco is one of the great cultural plateaus of the world - one of the really urbane communities in the United States - one of the truly cosmopolitan places and for many, many years, it always has had a warm welcome for human beings from all over the world
Jazz is a good barometer of freedom.
A Satin Doll is a woman who is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside.
I don't need time. What I need is a deadline!
I began by tinkering around with some old tunes I knew.
Then, just to try something different, I set to putting some music to the rhythm that I used in jerking ice-cream sodas at the Poodle Dog. I fooled around with the tune more and more until at last, lo and behold, I had completed my first piece of finished music.
Tomorrow is in the wings waiting for you to sound her entrance fanfare.
New York is a place where the rich walk, the poor drive Cadillacs, and beggars die of malnutrition with thousands of dollars hidden in their mattresses.
I like any and all of my associations with music: writing, playing, and listening. We write and play from our perspective, and the audience listens from its perspective. If and when we agree, I am lucky.
Without a deadline, baby, I wouldn't do nothing.
Hurry, get on board, it's comin', listen to those rails a-thrumming all aboard.
Get on the "A" train, soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem.
If anybody was Mr. Jazz it was Louis Armstrong. He was the epitome of jazz and always will be. He is what I call an American standard, an American original.
The problem of expressing the contributions that Benny Carter has made to popular music is so tremendous it completely fazes me, so extraordinary a musician is he.
There is no art without intention.
Every man prays in his own language.
It's like an act of murder; you play with intent to commit something.
Music, of course, is what I hear and something that I more or less live by.
It's not an occupation or profession, it's a compulsion.
Of the One O'Clock Lab Band after hearing their performance, and sitting in with them at the White House: "I wish it were mine".
Playing "bop" is like playing Scrabble with all the vowels missing.
Selfishness can be a virtue. Selfishness is essential to survival, and without survival we cannot protect those whom we love more than ourselves.
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind .
.. the only yardstick by which the result should be judged is simply that of how it sounds. If it sounds good it's successful; if it doesn't it has failed.