I will never again play anything that does not have social significance. We American jazz musicians of African descent have proved beyond all doubt that we are master musicians of our instruments. Now what we have to do is employ our skill to tell the dramatic story of our people and what we've been through.— Max Roach
Remarkable African American Music quotations
Behind every girl's favorite song there is an untold story.
I have this ability to find this hidden talent in people that sometimes even they didn't know they had.
There's a category for me. I like to be referred to as a good singer of good songs in good taste.
Life is like a piano, the white keys represent happiness and the black shows sadness, but as you go through life's journey, remember that the black keys also makes music.
Regardless of what you play, the biggest thing is keeping the feel going.
Silence is a sounding thing, To one who listens hungrily
It's a great thing about being a musician;
you don't stop until the day you die, you can improve. So it's a wonderful thing to do.
A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune.
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.
I was born with music inside me
My own personal theory is that all popular music, in whatever form it is, to me, it all comes from Africa. Whether it's filtered through America or whatever - African-American. But I still think there's something in that roots music that's very, very African, and I think that's what unites people.
The earth has music for those who listen.
Ray Charles' revolutionary approach to music was also reflected in his politics and his deep and abiding commitment to Martin Luther King and the plight of African-Americans. Ray Charles may not have been on the front lines, but he put his money where his mouth was.
Miles Davis was doing something inherently African, something that has to do with all forms of American music, not just jazz.
Seriously though, my father was the first African American to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Opera so I grew up with classical music and jazz in the home all the time.
Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.
I did a little bit to raise the dignity and recognition of the greatness of African-American music.
Music is the universal language.
From politics and business to music and food to culture, African-Americans have helped to shape our state's colourful past and its future.
People are like Music, some speak the truth and other are just noise
I used to work in the cotton fields a lot when I was young.
There were a lot of African Americans working out there. A lot of Mexicans - the blacks and the whites and the Mexicans, all out there singing, and it was like an opera in the cotton fields, and I can still hear it in the music that I write and play today.
African American music can't happen in Germany or in Italy or in Mumbai.
If America disappeared off the face of the Earth today, the greatest single cultural loss would be blues, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, rock-and-roll.
Anyone who watches a lot of television, or listens to pop music, is familiar with a certain vision of America. If not exactly colorblind, this America is one in which different races easily interact, in which a white person might have an Asian boss, Hispanic stepson, or African-American frenemy.
Music is the emotional life of most people.
I think music is one of the hero/sheroes of the African-American existence.
My audience went, 'Wait, why is she singing jazz? What's going on?' And then they went, 'Oh, because she can. Because she loves it.' And jazz, a music invented by the African-American community, is the greatest art form, I believe, to have ever come out of this country.
I'd been listening to African-American music since the first record I ever bought, which was by Sam Cooke. And it sounds more like my private thoughts that I never thought I would be able to articulate - I never thought I would be able to express publicly.
One good thing about music. When it hits you, you feel no pain.
What I consider to be the barometer for what is a rock artist and what is not, is somebody who has a certain element of blues, even a hint of soul or blues music, derivative of African-American blues, folk, spiritual, or gospel.
American audiences don't react in the same way as European ones to African music because, I think, Europeans listen to this music through all the festivals that exist here.
And different traditions stress different - so then there's that.
I talked to an African American who says before she goes into an interracial church, she sits in her car and she listens to gospel music to get her fill, and she goes into an interracial church where they don't do gospel music, and she's ready to accept the other sorts of ways of worshipping. So there's that.
A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.
What city has given the world more in terms of American culture than New Orleans? There is none. Not New York. Not L.A. Not Chicago. Not anywhere, in the sense that African American music has gone around the world twenty times over, and it's continuing to evolve. It is our greatest cultural export.
Country music is the combination of African and European folk songs coming together and doing a little waltz right here in the American south. They came together at some cotillion, and somebody snuck a black person into the room, and he danced with a white lady, and music was born.
What I want to do is basically tell my generation's story about how music and culture helped affect a generation, and a generation that's so profound, that it went on to elect the first African-American president.
Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
The good and bad are all tangled up together.
American popular music is loved around the world because of its African rhythm. But that wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for slavery.
He revolutionized music videos. Before Michael Jackson, MTV refused to play African-American artists.
It is a cultural tradition that makes New Orleans what it is.
It also represents the roots of American music and an important part of the African-American community in New Orleans. It unites people in some of the poorer neighborhoods of the city. It is absolutely critical to continue.
Without music, life would be a mistake.
Michael Jackson fundamentally altered the terms of the debate about African American music.
Society wants to categorize everything, but to me it's all African-American music.
New Orleans is of such key importance to American music because historical factors combined to make it the strongest center of African musical practice in the United States, and, cliches aside, that practice really did travel up the Mississippi and did spread overland.
I know I’m an African-American, and I know I play the saxophone, but I’m not a jazz musician. I’m not a classical musician, either. My music is like my life: It’s in between these areas.
I was a weird kid. I shouldve been gay because I listened to a lot of Broadway musicals. I dont know why Im not gay. I listen to a lot of jazz and world music, like African or Cuban music. Something that has vitality to it. A lot of the American stuff just feeds on itself.