Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus Jr. was an American jazz musician, composer, bandleader, and civil rights activist. #

16 Quotes

  • Had I been born in a different country or had I been born white, I am sure I would have expressed my ideas long ago. Maybe they wouldn’t have been as good because when people are born free?I can’t imagine it, but I’ve got a feeling that if it’s so easy for you, the struggle and the initiative are not as strong as they are for a person who has to struggle and therefore has more to say.

  • Most customers, by the time the musicians reach the second set, are to some extent inebriated. They don’t care what you play anyway.

  • In my music, I’m trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it’s difficult is because I’m changing all the time.

  • Most of the soloists at Birdland had to wait for Parker’s next record in order to find out what to play next. What will they do now?

  • Good jazz is when the leader jumps on the piano, waves his arms, and yells. Fine jazz is when a tenorman lifts his foot in the air. Great jazz is when he heaves a piercing note for 32 bars and collapses on his hands and knees. A pure genius of jazz is manifested when he and the rest of the orchestra runaround the room while the rhythm section grimaces and dances around their instruments.

  • They’re singing your praises while stealing your phrases.

  • Just because I’m playing jazz I don’t forget about me. I play or write me the way I feel through jazz, or whatever. Music is, or was, a language of the emotions.

  • Let my children have music! Let them hear live music. Not noise. My children! You do what you want with your own!

  • I, myself, came to enjoy the players who didn’t only just swing but who invented new rhythmic patterns, along with new melodic concepts. And those people are: Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Parker, who is the greatest genius of all to me because he changed the whole era around.

  • Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.

  • It (jazz) isn’t like it used to be. The guys aren’t together. They’re all separated. Individuals now. Bird was a symbol. It was a clique, a clique of people. Who all believed in one thing: gettin’ high. And playin’.

  • Tastes are created by the business interests. How else can you explain the popularity of Al Hirt?

  • If someone has been escaping reality, I don’t expect him to dig my music.

  • I always wanted to be a spontaneous composer.

  • I’m too busy playing. When I’m playing I don’t pay attention to who’s listening. When I was listening I listened to symphony orchestras, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Stravinsky. You don’t listen to one instrument; you listen to music.

  • That sound in tune to you? Sounds sharp to me. Sounds like I’m playing sharp all the time. My singing teacher told us you should do that. Maybe I got it from her. She said singers when they grow old have a tendency to go flat. So if you sing sharp as a young person, as you get older and go flat, you’ll be in tune. In other words, it’s never thought good to be flat. It means you can’t get to the tone.

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