A venerable figure in the world of music, Miles Davis was a Jazz virtuoso who brought about a myriad of invigorating, improvisational, and stylistic developments in the genre. We present you some of the famous quotes by Miles Davis.
"You have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself." -Miles Davis
With a flourishing career that spanned over 45 years, Miles Davis' intimate relationship with the trumpet bore a number of melodious and versatile works. The son of an upper-middle class dentist, Davis was weaned on playing trumpet at the age of 13.
He was also a revolutionary artist who showed his disposition for innovation by playing the trumpet without vibrato which was contrary to the common style of fellow trumpeters.
Davis was an outspoken musician, whose nonchalance and hip clothing sense was revered by his fans. Throughout his musical career, he experimented and fused different forms, collaborated with various artists and won nine Grammy Awards for his breakthrough musical works.
The following quotes by Miles Davis about Jazz, life, mistakes, and music give us an insight into the life of this Jazz maestro.
★ "I never thought that the music called "jazz" was ever meant to reach just a small group of people, or become a museum thing locked under glass like all other dead things that were once considered artistic."
★ "Jazz music has got to have that thing. You have to be born with it. You can't even buy it. If you could buy it, they'd have it at the next Newport festival."
★ "The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas."
★ "For me, music and life are all about style."
★ "Do not fear mistakes - there are none."
★ "In improvisation, there are no mistakes."
★ "A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I'm still doing it."
★ "Music is an addiction."
★ "A lot of people ask me where music is going today. I think it's going in short phrases. If you listen, anybody with an ear can hear that. Music is always changing. It changes because of the times and the technology that's available, the material that things are made of, like plastic cars instead of steel.
So when you hear an accident today it sounds different, not all the metal colliding like it was in the forties and fifties. Musicians pick up sounds and incorporate that into their playing, so the music that they make will be different."
★ "Good music is good no matter what kind of music it is."
★ "Music is a funny thing when you really come to think about it."
★ "It's always been a gift with me, hearing music the way I do. I don't know where it comes from, it's just there and I don't question it."
★ "Don't play what's there; play what's not there."
★ "You should never be comfortable, man. Being comfortable fouled up a lot of musicians."
★ "Bebop was about change, about evolution. It wasn't about standing still & being safe."
★ "You know why I quit playing ballads? Cause I love playing ballads."
★ "I'll play it first & tell you what it is later."
★ "Play what you know & then play above that."
★ "I can tell whether a person can play just by the way he stands."
★ "Always look ahead, but never look back."
★ "It's not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change."
★ "If you understood everything I say, you'd be me!"
★ "You can dominate a game if you dominate on the line... We're just going to have to go out there and work hard and blow people off the ball, and let our runners do what they do best."
★ "If you sacrifice your art because of some woman, or some man, or for some color, or for some wealth, you can't be trusted."
★ "If you're trying to be hip, be hip."
★ "If you hit a wrong note, it's the next note that you play that determines if it's good or bad."
★ "Knowledge is freedom, and ignorance is slavery."
★ "My ego only needs a good rhythm section."
★ "That was my gift . . . having the ability to put certain guys together that would create a chemistry and then letting them go; letting them play what they knew, and above it."
Miles Davis' phenomenal virtuosity gave Jazz some of its best concoctions. He is not with us anymore, but his legacy and the haunting tone of his trumpet lives on.