Topics Charles Mingus Quotations
Charles Mingus was an American jazz bassist, composer, bandleader, and occasional pianist also known for his activism against racial injustice.
- Since the white man says he came from the evolution of animals, well, maybe the black man didn't. The white man has made so many errors in the handling of people that maybe he did come from a gorilla or a fish and crawl up on the sand and then into the trees. Of course, evolution doesn't take God into consideration. I don't think people learned to do all the things they do through evolution.
- As quoted in More Than A Fakebook : The Music Of Charles Mingus (1991) by Andrew Homzy
- Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.
- 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 run around the room while the rhythm section grimaces and dances around their instruments.
- 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.
- I always wanted to be a spontaneous composer.
- 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.
- 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.
- If someone has been escaping reality, I don't expect him to dig my music.
- 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.
- 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'.
- 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!
- Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
- Most customers, by the time the musicians reach the second set, are to some extent inebriated. They don't care what you play anyway.
- 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?
- Please don't associate me with any of this. This is not jazz: these people are sick.
- Tastes are created by the business interests. How else can you explain the popularity of Al Hirt?
- 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.
- They're singing your praises while stealing your phrases.
Quotes about Mingus
- Mingus was always a disaster to have around. I loved him, but he was worse than a child. He didn't know how to clean up behind himself. He could cook, but there would be eggs on the floor and the ceiling. Couldn't find his shoes when he had to go to work, didn't have a white shirt, couldn't write a check. All he could really do was play the bass and write.
- Buddy Collette, as quoted in Central Avenue Sounds (1998), edited by Clora Bryant.
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