It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play. -- Dizzie Gillespie

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Ornette Coleman - Great Quotes

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“Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night, but differently each time.”

"It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something"

I don't really live like a musician myself. I think music is just something that I do, but I'd like to be doing lots of other things. I like to cure all kinds of illness.

 I don't try to please when I play. I try to cure.

I wasn't so interested in being paid. I wanted to be heard. That's why I'm broke.

I didn't need to worry about keys, chords, melody if I had that emotion that brought tears and laughter to people's hearts.

How can I turn emotion into knowledge? That's what I try to do with my horn. 

It's easier to copy someone else than to find out how to avoid sounding like someone else.

The violin, the saxophone, the trumpet: Each makes a very different sound but the very same notes. That's pretty heavy, you know ?   Imagine how many different races make up the human race. I'm called colored, you're called white, he's called something else. We still got an asshole and a mouth. Pardon me.

I never thought about being famous or rich. I just thought, Oh, I'll get a nice little girl and go and play every night, and I'd be happy. And that worked for a while. But the little girl's mother didn't trust a guy with a horn.

Dog spelled backward is God. That's pretty heavy.

Talk of God is most often in church. Is there a God outside of church? I hope so. But how should I know? How does anybody know ?

Difference between sex and love ?  Well, you're not always sure you're in love. But when you're having sex, there's really no mistaking it.

After I left Texas and went to California, I had a hard time getting anyone to play anything that I was writing, so I had to end up playing them myself. And that's how I ended up just being a saxophone player.

Even when you write it, someone's got to play it. So if you can play it and bypass all the rest of the things, you're still doing as great as someone that has spent forty years trying to find out how to do that. I'm really pro-human beings, pro-expression of everything.

I asked my mother could I have an instrument. She said, 'Well if you go out and save your money.' So I went and got - I made me a shine box. I went out and started shining shoes, and I'd bring whatever I made.

I don't know what they're thinking about. Just because someone says, 'I like what you do' or something: They might like it today and tomorrow they might not. I've had that experience with record companies.

I had a really good time in New Orleans, although I had some very tragic times in Baton Rouge. Some guys beat me up and threw my horn away. 'Cause I had a beard, then, and long hair like the Beatles.

I think that those elements - light and sound - are beyond democratic. They're into the creative part of life.

I've had those people very interested in my writing. Since I think of myself as a composer, I feel really good. I've had lots of guys call me up. I've gotten two or three commissions to write things. I've written lots of movie scores.

Ornette Coleman

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Last modified on Friday, 25 July 2014 12:08

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