71+ Best Jazz Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Profoundly inspirational jazz quotes will fire up your brain and encourage you to look at life differently while making you laugh.

Famous Jazz Quotes

It bugs me when people try to analyze jazz as an intellectual theorem. It’s not. It’s a feeling. Bill Evans

When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people. John Coltrane

If it has more than three chords, it’s jazz. Lou Reed

Master your instrument. Master the music. And then forget all that bullshit and just play. Charlie Parker

 If America has a future, Jazz has a future. The two are inseparable. George Russell

If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn. Charlie Parker

Jazz is like a great void, it waits patiently until a brave musician takes control of space and time. Chris Griffin

Life is a lot like jazz. It’s best when you improvise George Gershwin

Jazz is not a what, it is a how. Bill Evans

If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying. Coleman Hawkins

Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time. Ornette Coleman

Do not fear mistakes. There are none. Miles Davis

One of the things I like about Jazz, kid, is I don’t know what’s going to happen next Bix Beiderbecke

If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterward. Joe Pass

The blues and jazz will live forever. So will the Delta and the Big Easy. Jack Nicholson

Jazz is something you have to feel, something you have to live. Ray Brown

Jazz stands for freedom. Dave Brubeck

It’s not exclusive, but inclusive, which is the whole spirit of jazz. Herbie Hancock

Forgive me if I don’t have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you’ll understand. Ella Fitzgerald

It’s like an act of murder. You play with intent to commit something. Duke Ellington

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. Charles Mingus

Jazz stands for freedom. Dave Brubeck

Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it. George Foreman

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. Jimi Hendrix

Jazz is the big brother of Revolution. Revolution follows it around. Miles Davis

Making the simple complicated is commonplace. Charles Mingus

By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with. Duke Ellington

A jazz musician is not a jazz musician when he or she is eating dinner or when he or she is with his parents or spouse or neighbors. He’s above all a human being  the true artform is being a human being. Herbie Hancock

It’s the group sound that’s important, even when you’re playing a solo. 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

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. Duke Ellington

Rock and roll ain’t nothing but jazz with a hard backbeat. Keith Richards

Jazz is about being in the moment. Herbie Hancock

Jazz has endured because it doesn’t have a beginning or an ending. It’s a moment. Robert Altman

Jazz is one of the best things that you can find in your life, it can always be your friend. George Gershwin

How are you gonna be a revolutionary if you’re such a traditionalist? You hold onto the past, but jazz is about the future. Keith, La La Land

You should never be comfortable, man. Being comfortable fouled up a lot of musicians. Miles Davis

I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later. Miles Davis

Jazz and love are the hardest things to describe from rationale. Mel Torme

Contrary to general belief, an artist is never ahead of his time, but most people are far behind theirs. Edgard Varèse

There are no wrong notes. Thelonious Monk

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

They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art. Charlie Parker

Blues is to jazz what yeast is to bread without it, it’s flat. Carmen McRae

Jazz music is an intensified feeling of nonchalance. Francoise Sagan

Art is self expression. If you are expressing someone else’s personality, that is not art. Bennie Wallace

As any jazz musician knows, it takes flexibility and adaptability for improvisation to create beauty. Doc Childre

What separates great jazz musicians from average ones is taste. Those who have taste consistently choose notes, tempos, timbres, and voicings that seduce and satisfy attentive listeners. Marc Myers

Some people are born with a brain that has this weird, magical mathematical thing that makes them an amazing jazz musician. Andy Richter

Without jazz, life would be a mistake. Boris Vian

Jazz is the big brother of Revolution. Revolution follows it around. Miles Davis

Jazz is one of the best things that you can find in your life, it can always be your friend. George Gershwin

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

If a Jazz musician plays someone else’s song, he has a responsibility to make a distinct & original statement. Todd Boyd

Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it. Louis Armstrong

Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can’t understand it. It’s too complicated. That’s what’s so simple about it. Yogi Berra

We must be as pure as our music. Albert Ayler

That’s the thing about jazz: it’s free flowing, it comes from your soul. Billy Crystal

In my view, a jazz musician is a great musician. Michael Parkinson

Jazz was not only built in the minds of the great ones but on the backs of the ordinary ones. Cab Calloway

Some people think I’m a rock ‘n’ roll musician and some think I’m a jazz musician but, for me, there is no difference. Georgie Fame

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

Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time. Ornette Coleman

Jazz is the big brother of the blues. If a guy’s playing blues like we play, he’s in high school. When he starts playing jazz it’s like going on to college, to a school of higher learning. B. B. King

Music is my religion. Music is the only thing that has never failed me. People let you down, music won’t. Gary Bartz

Eclecticism is the word. Like a jazz musician who creates his own style out of the styles around him, I play by ear. Ralph Ellison

The real innovators did their innovating just by being themselves. Count Basie

The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas. Miles Davis

I felt the responsibility to present a viable alternative to the popular electric sound. Ron Carter

If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know. Louis Armstrong

I can’t understand these guys who just have to have your autograph. I asked one of them, ‘What do you do when you get home, take it out and look at it? Artie Shaw