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What is jazz? It, It's almost like asking,
by Branford Marsalis

What is jazz? It, It's almost like asking,
What is French? Jazz is a musical language.
It's a musical dialect that actually embodies the spirit of America.
- Branford Marsalis

You hear it in your brain.
Whatever makes sense.
Some songs work well as quartet songs,
sometimes they don't.
- Branford Marsalis

One of the things that's clear to me from interviews
that I've read is that the more popular successful
jazz musicians had audiences above and beyond the music community.
- Branford Marsalis

I like to make records sound good.
I'm more like a reducer than a producer.
If an artist cannot produce themselves,
what's the point?
- Branford Marsalis

 

I'm not going to play funk licks on a jazz album.
That makes no sense.
- Branford Marsalis

It's something that jazz has gotten away from,
and it's unfortunate.
Players aren't physical anymore.
- Branford Marsalis

Pop doesn't really look back.
It can't.
What makes pop work is simplicity.
- Branford Marsalis

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It's hard to get into Newsweek because,
as more of our former intellectual magazines take on a pop focus,
if there's no buzz, there's no interest.
- Branford Marsalis

Jazz fans love Miles and I love him for a myriad of reasons,
but the overviews are always too simplistic.
- Branford Marsalis

I think that one of the problems that jazz has is that
it's so incestuous that it's starting to kill itself.
- Branford Marsalis

That's kind of like how jazz is sometimes.
You're out there predicting the future,
and no one believes you.
- Branford Marsalis

My dad was a musician, it was just what he did,
like another guy's dad drives a meat truck.
Our house was normal.
We weren't taken with the fact our dad was a musician.
- Branford Marsalis

If I were like a lot of other people,
then it wouldn't be fun; but since I'm like me,
it's okay.
- Branford Marsalis

A lot of musicians have a tough time hearing what we're doing in a trio format.
- Branford Marsalis

Coltrane came to New Orleans one day and he was talking about the jazz scene.
And Coltrane mentions that the problem with jazz was
that there were too few groups.
- Branford Marsalis

I think that if you keep banging at the door all you
need is a little foothold,
a little tiny foothold, and then the rest will take care of itself.
- Branford Marsalis

When you're dealing with music without words,
titles are more a means of identification than anything else.
What's the point of getting lofty?
- Branford Marsalis

If it's not going to sound like Terrapin Station,
what's the point of playing Terrapin Station?
- Branford Marsalis

I gave up my base in popular culture when I left the Tonight Show.
- Branford Marsalis

There's not one Tin Pan Alley song on my record.
- Branford Marsalis

The lion's share of what I hear right now are people who,
intentional or accidental, have avoided all jazz prior to 1960.
And all the musicians who were successful in the '60s
spent their entire lives,
prior to 1960, listening to all the musicians these people avoid.
- Branford Marsalis

The piano is the X factor.
People have a tough time following the structures when there's no piano there,
spelling it out.
It makes it more easily understood, particularly to
people who don't know as much about music.
- Branford Marsalis

The biggest problem with American music right now,
is that kids don't listen.
They come by it honestly, Americans don't listen anyway.
When people go to concerts, they say I'm going to see...
not, I'm going to hear.
- Branford Marsalis

If you listen to a lot of the songs that are popular now,
there's very little melody in there.
People love the beat.
But to musicians, it's melody, because we understand
how elusive it is and how hard it is to hold.
- Branford Marsalis

We played it as long as we could play it on that CD
and I think it might be 50 minutes,
maybe.
What you have to do is play a couple of songs and then
get off the stage because everything that trails it sounds stupid.
- Branford Marsalis

There's a certain kind of motion and pacing that our music has,
and this just doesn't have that.
We just kind of rushed to the conclusion of most of the songs.
I just would've preferred to done them over.
- Branford Marsalis

The whole point is, give me a break with the standards.
You go to the average jazz label and suggest a record
and they want to know which standards you're going to play.
I'm saying let's break the formula.
- Branford Marsalis

One of the things that I loved about listening to Miles
Davis is that Miles always had an instinct for which
musicians were great for what situations.
He could always pick a band, and that was the thing
that separated him from everybody else.
- Branford Marsalis

Humans are imperfect.
That's one of the reasons that classical and jazz are in trouble.
We're on the quest for the perfect performance and
every note has to be right.
Man, every note is not right in life.
- Branford Marsalis

If you're going to use standards as criteria for signing musicians,
you can sign thousands.
If you're going to use some sort of conceptual interpretation
that's based on the tradition of those standards,
but is trying to move away from it, you're down to about 10 people or so.
- Branford Marsalis

I suspect that we might actually start selling some
records with these artists in about 10 years.
Some the people who invested, they're a little tight-because
it's a lot of money to start up a company.
- Branford Marsalis

Jazz is a very democratic musical form.
It comes out of a communal experience.
We take our respective instruments and collectively
create a thing of beauty.
- Max Roach

I think you have to have a jazz pedigree to be on jazz radio.
- Rita Coolidge

Clifford Brown was in the jazz circles considered to
be probably the greatest trumpet player who ever lived.
- Herb Alpert

Jazz is the music of the body.
- Anais Nin

Jazz is not the format where I want to stay,
but it really is a starting point for me.
- Justin Guarini

I've often cringed when I heard myself described as a jazz singer.
I've always thought of myself as a jazz vocalist.
- Cassandra Wilson

I was really small when jazz broke through in England
and I can still remember sneaking off to the living
room to listen to it on the radio -
much to my parent's disapproval.
- Jeff Beck

Gospel music rhythms are not African in origin,
although I know that's what the jazz experts say.
- Mahalia Jackson

A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges.
- Benny Green

Too many jazz pianists limit themselves to a personal style,
a trademark, so to speak.
They confine themselves to one type of playing.
- Oscar Peterson

Tone on jazz guitars is a real tough issue.
- Mark White

I also like Western classical music and jazz.
- Nusrat F. A. Khan

In jazz, there is a lot of European influence harmonically.
- Dexter Gordon

My music is jazz.
- Yusef Lateef

We went to see all the shows.
American musical theater and jazz were very big.
- Carly Simon

As long as there are musicians who have a passion for spontaneity,
for creating something that's never been before,
the art form of jazz will flourish.
- Charlie Haden

Coltrane would do what you'd get a Roland Pro Tools
module to do but with a group of jazz musicians.
- Colin Greenwood

Change is always happening.
That's one of the wonderful things about jazz music.
- Maynard Ferguson

I was a jazz major in high school, in an all-jazz band.
No matter what I do, it features my musical influences.
- Wyclef Jean

The genius of our country is improvisation,
and jazz reflects that.
It's our great contribution to the arts.
- Ken Burns

There are singers that I have enjoyed,
from Nina Simone and Ray Charles onward.
But the music that made music the number one thing
for me as a youth was jazz.
- Robert Wyatt

The whole rise of new adult contemporary music and
smooth jazz was a nice surprise.
- Kenny G

You not only have to know your own instrument,
you must know the others and how to back them up at all times.
That's jazz.
- Oscar Peterson

To me, Bill's musical heart is in Earthworks,
in the jazz they are playing, in the acoustic kit.
- Robert Fripp

I can turn on some jazz guitarist, and he won't do a thing for me,
if he's not playing electrically.
But Jeff Beck's great to listen to.
- Ritchie Blackmore

Jazz is a white term to define black people.
My music is black classical music.
- Nina Simone

The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.
- Louis Armstrong

Jazz is there and gone.
It happens.
You have to be present for it.
That simple.
- Keith Jarrett

I was blessed to work with The Jazz Messengers when
the two piano players were Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea.
- Chuck Mangione

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?
- Sonny Rollins

Here in England we live at a slower pace,
have more time to enjoy things - like good jazz.
- Chris Barber

Jazz has borrowed from other genres of music and also
has lent itself to other genres of music.
- Herbie Hancock

Jazz is about being in the moment.
- Herbie Hancock

One thing about playing the real jazz is that you can't count it.
- Mahalia Jackson

I wanted to play some more grown-up music -
jazz.
- Rick Derringer

I don't want to sound as if I'm doing something tremendously special.
But I am a jazz fan.
- Norman Granz

We didn't go for music that sounded like blues,
or jazz, or rock, or Led Zeppelin, or Rolling Stones.
We didn't want to be like any of the other bands.
- Michael Giles

Some people try to get very philosophical and cerebral
about what they're trying to say with jazz.
You don't need any prologues, you just play.
- Oscar Peterson

My main influences have always been the classic jazz players who sang,
like Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole and Jack Teagarden.
- Mose Allison

Jazz is people's music, a collectivity.
- Steve Lacy


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