Music represents nature. Nature represents life. Jazz represents nature. Jazz is life.— Sonny Rollins
The most seductive Sonny Rollins quotes that will add value to your life
I think as long as people are around and can hear a record and hear people like Lester Young on a recording, there will always be a great inspiration for somebody to try to create jazz.
I've played with all of the heavyweights in the modern jazz, progressive jazz movement. I've been fortunate enough to play with them, a who's who. All of those guys, I've been fortunate enough to have performed with.
Jazz is the type of music that can absorb so many things and still be jazz.
I'm not supposed to be playing, the music is supposed to be playing me.
I'm just supposed to be standing there with the horn, moving my fingers. The music is supposed to be coming through me; that's when it's really happening.
I think music should be judged on what it is.
It should be very high and above everything else. It is a beautiful way of bringing people together, a little bit of an oasis in this messed-up world.
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• Quotes about Jazz
The thing is this: When I play, what I try to do is to reach my subconscious level. I don't want to overtly think about anything, because you can't think and play at the same time - believe me, I've tried it (laughs).
How ironic that the Negro, who more than any other people can claim America's culture as his own, is being persecuted and repressed; that the Negro, who has exemplified the humanities in his very existence, is being rewarded with inhumanity.
I feel that Jazz improvisation is the ultimate.
You have to create on the spot, the essence of this music.
I miss playing with Miles. I did play with him a little while before he left the planet, but even at that time I longed to maybe do some things together.
...this is my dilemma. I'm a guy who makes things up as I go along, so nothing is ever finished - there are so many layers. So when you solo, yeah, you might get into one thing, but then, hey, everything has implications! You can hear the next level. And that's how I feel about improvising - there's always another level.
Improvisation is really not so much remembering things.
And this is what I do when I play. I forget things. When I go on the stage, I want my mind to be a blank, so that I can - things can come into me without my knowing where they came from.
It's all about creation and surprise.
It just needs to be appreciated and watered like flowers. You have to water flowers. These peaks will come again.
One very important thing I learned from Monk was his complete dedication to music. That was his reason for being alive. Nothing else mattered except music, really.
I have always been a person who is concerned with the dignity of jazz music and the way jazz musicians have been treated and are treated, and the fact that the music has not been given the kind of due that it deserves.
Improvisation is the ability to create something very spiritual, something of one's own.
But if I didn't have to make money, I would still play my horn.
I enjoy playing clubs. I still enjoy the closeness of the nightclub venue. However, after a certain period of time and after playing around some of the clubs in New YorkI felt that jazz should be presented in a more prestigious atmosphere.
My mother came from St. Thomas. I heard that melody and all I did was actually adapt it. I made my adaptation of sort of an island traditional melody. It did become sort of my trademark tune.
You had many jazz musicians who lived in the United States, who had a hard time being accepted over here and had to play in sort of these inferior type dives.
Europeans really provided many venues over there and hailed the jazz artists, and a lot of musicians went over there and stayed over there for a long time. A lot of them moved over there, lived over there, and died over there.
I have seen great jazz musicians die obscure and drinking themselves to death and not really being able to get any work and working in small, funky jazz clubs.
Many jazz artists go to L.A. seeking a more comfortable life and then they really stop playing.
I think what we need is a more welcoming mode from the people who put on a hundred million country-western shows on television. How about a monthly jazz show?
I think we are in the midst of this period where we are committing this suicide on the planet and everybody is just using up all of our natural resources like a bunch of insane people. That's what I worry about more than I worry about jazz.
I think the problem starts with the general appreciation of the music in the larger society.
There was a period which I refer to as the 'Golden Age of Jazz,' which sort of encompasses the middle Thirties through the Sixties, we had a lot of great innovators, all creating things which will last the world for a long, long time.
Jazz has an audience all around the globe and has had for many decades, I think speaking of the United States, let's say that what we need is more of an official recognition.
Jazz is an endless source of ideas, because you can use anything.
You can play operatic arias. You can incorporate them into jazz. You can play gypsy music and incorporate it into jazz. You can European classical and you can incorporate it into jazz. You can use anything and jazz it up, as they used to say.
I am a person who thinks about the music first in trying to achieve something musically valid.
I feel that I have an obligation to jazz and also to myself to play as good as I can play.
I feel that L.A. has not always been my strongest base for support. That can be for various reasons.
I don't want to appear hostile, like I'm hostile to L.
A. or that I feel that the people don't appreciate jazz. I don't think it's that. I think it's something more. It's something a little bit more complicated than that.
Jazz never ends... it just continues.
I guess fortunate that I'm still around and I emphasize I guess because you never can tell what musicians would be playing had they been around as long as I have.
What I am more concerned about is whether our whole civilization will be around in the next 25 years.
We have to make ourselves as perfect as we can.
There have been many great musicians that, Clifford Brown is one great example, I mean he died very early, 25.
I'm now a legend, whether I want to be or not.
What I can say is that for may years jazz musicians had to go to Europe, for instance, to be respected and to be sort of treated not in a discriminatory way. I don't think there is anything controversial about me saying that. This is just a fact.
Even the most jingoistic person would have to admit that even American cultural music comes from Europe. That's what classical music is, real European music.
No one is original. Everyone is derivative.
Charlie Parker stuck out in my mind.
I'll know when I find the ultimate sound.
I am interested in my music lasting only while I'm alive. I'm not writing for the future.
America is deeply rooted in Negro culture: its colloquialisms; its humor; its music.
I simply want to reach a level where I will never cease to make progress.
..so that, even on the bad evenings, I may never be bad enough to despair.
I'm fortunate that I'm making a living at it now because I'm not equipped to do anything else.