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#1 George H. Smith

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 08:04 AM

[The following was posted on the Yahoo list JazzWestCoast]

Quotes: MUSIC / MUSICIANS

"One of the perks of being an unemployed musician is that you get to play much less bad music."
Jack Daney

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
Aldous Huxley

"Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all. Music expresses itself."
Igor Stravinsky

"Hell is full of musical amateurs."
George Bernard Shaw

"The drummer drives. Everybody else rides!"
Panama Francis

"Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins."
Dizzy Gillespie on playing the trumpet

"Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one."
Duke Ellington

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

"We never play anything the same way once."
Shelly Manne's definition of jazz musicians

"Someone who knows how to play the accordion, and doesn't."
Al Cohn's definition of a gentleman

"Music is a very hard instrument."
Vido Musso

"The only tune they play in 4/4 is 'Take Five!'"
(unknown-talking about the Don Ellis band)

"If I could play like Wynton (Marsalis), I wouldn't play like Wynton."
Chet Baker

"I'm too old to pimp, and too young to die, so I'm just gon' keep playin'."
Clark Terry

"A great teacher is one who realizes that he himself is also a student and whose goal is not dictate the answers, but to stimulate his students creativity enough so that they go out and find the answers themselves."
Herbie Hancock

"To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse.
Jack Daney

"Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already."
Gustav Mahler, to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria.

"I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve."
Xavier Cugat

"[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."
Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.

"Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living."
Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer

"I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet."
Niccoló Paganini

"What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste?"
Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats."
Victor Borge, playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan.

"If one hears bad music it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation."
Oscar Wilde

"Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together."
Mel Brooks

"Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years."
William F. Buckley, Jr.

"You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow."
Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket.

"Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
Mark Twain

"Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it magnificently."
James Gibbons Hunekar

"If a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder."
Walter Damrosch on Aaron Copland

"There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major."
Sergei Prokofiev

"I never use a score when conducting my orchestra. Does a lion tamer enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion?"
Dimitri Mitropolous

"God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way."
Arturo Toscanini to a trumpet player

"Already too loud!"
Bruno Walter at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra, on seeing the players reaching for their instruments.

"I really don't know whether any place contains more pianists than Paris, or whether you can find more asses and virtuosos anywhere."
Frederic Chopin

"When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano."
Bob Hope, on comedienne Phyllis Diller

"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
Richard Strauss

"In opera, there is always too much singing."
Claude Debussy

"Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers!"
Giacchino Rossini

"I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the twentieth century that has made giant strides in reverse."
Bing Crosby

"A ponderous orchestral absurdity."
Frank Zappa on his rock symphony debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic

"The bottom line of any country is, what did we contribute to the world? We contributed Louis Armstrong."
Tony Bennett

#2 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 09:30 AM

One of my favorites about a musician is the following (the quote is from "V. I. Lenin" by Maxim Gorky):

...Listening to Beethoven's sonatas played by Isai Dobrowein at the home of Y. P. Peshkova in Moscow one evening, Lenin remarked:

"I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps naively so, to think that people can work such miracles!"

Wrinkling up his eyes, he smiled rather sadly, adding:

"But I can't listen to music very often, it affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things and pat the heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. One can't pat anyone on the head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. They ought to be beaten on the head, beaten mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people. Hm-what a hellishly difficult job!"


Know thyself...


#3 George H. Smith

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 09:51 AM

Michael,

Jazz lovers (and music lovers generally) will find an abundance of amusing stories in Bill Crow's Jazz Anecdotes: The Second Time Around. (Bill, a JWC member, played bass for many years with Gerry Mulligan and other greats, such as Stan Getz.)

The following story about jazz guitarist Jimmy Raney is one of my favorites:

"[Joe] Puma dropped in at a small New York Club where Jim Raney was working. The club wasn't doing much business. As in all New York nightclubs, there was a fire department sign on the wall. It declared: `OCCUPANCY OF THESE PREMISES BY OVER 116 PEOPLE IS UNLAWFUL.' Jimmy penciled neatly underneath: AND UNLIKELY.'"

The book also contains a lot of jokes, such as:

How late does the band play?
About half a beat behind the drummer.

What's the difference between a bass and a cello?
A bass burns longer.

How can a jazz musician wind up with a million dollars?
Start out with two million.

What sort of people hang around musicians?
Drummers.

:lol:
Ghs

#4 George H. Smith

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 09:59 AM

One of my favorites about a musician is the following (the quote is from "V. I. Lenin" by Maxim Gorky):

...Listening to Beethoven's sonatas played by Isai Dobrowein at the home of Y. P. Peshkova in Moscow one evening, Lenin remarked:

[snip] They ought to be beaten on the head, beaten mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people...



What a revealing statement this is.

Ghs

#5 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:07 PM

George,

This literally happened to me during my record producing days.

An attractive lady cornered me while I was drinking a cup of coffee (the small Brazilian kind) at a stand-up lunch counter in São Paulo. She talked a bit and I couldn't figure out what she wanted. She wasn't exactly flirting, but she was very intense. Then her talk started turning toward needing help to make a hit record.

Oh...

These people used to show up all the time in my life out of nowhere down there--and you have no idea how many mediocre-to-piss-poor performers and composers there are in the world who dream of being the next big thing. Vanity on steroids with no muscle.

("Please, God! Make me rich and famous and make it so I don't have to do a damn thing to get there!" [then looking at me] "Oooooh... Thank you, God, for sending me this American producer who will do it for you!")

Anyway, with the young lady, the coin dropped in my mind and I got it. Another of those.

ME: Are you a musician?

HER (smiling brightly): No. I'm a singer.

ME (sighing): At least you're honest.

I started to walk away. She called out after me.

HER (perplexed): What?!

That might have been cruel and I might have missed out on a hit, who knows? But by then, I just couldn't take it anymore.

Michael

Know thyself...


#6 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:15 PM

Here's my favorite string bass joke for symphonic musicians. You are supposed to ask this to a string bass player.

YOU: Three people come across a hundred dollar bill on the floor. The first is a string bass player who can play a wickedly fast tremolo. The second is a string bass player who can only play a tremolo somewhat slowly. And the third is Santa Claus. Who will pick up the hundred dollars?

STRING BASS PLAYER: I don't know. Who?

YOU: The string bass player who can only play a tremolo somewhat slowly because the other two don't exist.

(Boy, does that get them pissed!)

:)

Michael

Know thyself...


#7 George H. Smith

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:17 PM


Anyway, with the young lady, the coin dropped in my mind and I got it. Another of those.

ME: Are you a musician?

HER (smiling brightly): No. I'm a singer.

ME (sighing): At least you're honest.

I started to walk away. She called out after me.

HER (perplexed): What?!

That might have been cruel and I might have missed out on a hit, who knows? But by then, I just couldn't take it anymore.

Michael


By walking away, you might have missed out on a lot more than a hit record. :rolleyes:

Ghs

#8 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:22 PM

George,

LOL...

You should go to Brazil. Why lament the loss of a rain drop when there is the entire ocean in front of you if you want to get wet?

Michael

Know thyself...


#9 George H. Smith

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:37 PM

Michael,

I don't know if you are familiar with Niels Pedersen, but if want to hear one incredible bass player, watch this video. Pedersen is here paired with the equally remarkable Joe Pass. Guys like this, who leave even many accomplished jazz musicians far behind, never cease to amaze me.

Ghs



#10 Dragonfly

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:46 PM

[indent=1]ME: Are you a musician?

HER (smiling brightly): No. I'm a singer.

ME (sighing): At least you're honest.

I started to walk away. She called out after me.

HER (perplexed): What?!

Couldn't it have been a language problem, because she was thinking that you meant by "musician" an "instrumentalist"? Perhaps some world-famous singers would have given the same answer...

#11 George H. Smith

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:48 PM

George,

LOL...

You should go to Brazil. Why lament the loss of a rain drop when there is the entire ocean in front of you if you want to get wet?

Michael


Having lived in Bloomington (IL) for over a decade now, I would be happy with even one drop of rain.

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. :angry:

Ghs

#12 George H. Smith

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:59 PM

Michael,

Drummers and bass players bear the brunt of many jazz jokes. The following variation on an old joke is one of my favorites:

Deep in the African jungle, a safari was camped for the night. In the darkness, distant drums began a relentless throbbing that continued until dawn. The safari members were disturbed, but the guide reassured them: "Drums good. When drums stop, very bad."

Every night the drumming continued, and every night the guide reiterated, "Drums good. When drums stop, VERY bad."

This continues for several days until one morning the drumming suddenly stops and all the natives panic and run screaming. The man asks the guide what's the matter?

The guide, looking very frightened, says: "When drums stop, VERY, VERY bad," he said.

"Why is it bad?" asked a member of the safari.

"Because when drums stop, bass solo begin!"

Ghs

#13 Dan Ust

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:01 PM

I always liked the one where Shostakovich supposedly said that Prokofiev had "the soul of a goose."

#14 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:07 PM

George,

I didn't know those guys. Dayaamm! Fingers, Inc.

I'll be honest, I don't identify much with that style of music, although I am mellowing with time. I now see and hear value and can enjoy it. But back in my asshole Randroid days, I would have haughtily said I practice my scales and arpeggios in the practice room, not on stage. (Back then, I could be a jerk with the best of them...)

Before you posted that, my mind started wandering down memory lane, and that brought up a very funny story they tell in Brazil about a saxophone player name Pixinguinha. He's the author of one of the most popular oldie-but-goodie songs in Brazil, Carinhoso. They play it everywhere. All the time.

Here's a pretty good classic-sounding version by Marisa Monte and Paulinho da Viola. (I'll do the funny story at the end.) I met Paulinho a few times in Brazil, but I never had the chance to meet Marisa. We traveled in the same company, but I melted down on drugs and alcohol before I could meet her. Had I not done that, I probably would have done some things with both as I liked (and still like) her voice a lot. And Paulinho is Paulinho. He's an MPB institution all by himself. (MPB means "música popular brasileira" or Brazilian popular music.)

It never occurred to me before, but Pixinguinha passed away the same year I arrived in Brazil (1973).

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If you want to see what Pixinguinha looked like and how he sounded, albeit not on a very good day, here's a gem I uncovered of him being filmed walking though his house, then on stage.

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Now for the story. It has not been verified by any source I know, but it is part of the folklore surrounding him, and many people I have talked to in the Brazilian music industry swear it's true.

When Pixinguinha was getting on in years, he went for a check-up. The doctor became quite concerned with what he saw on the tests, so he told Pixinguinha he was going to have to stop drinking. The villain was cachaça, a kind of Brazilian rum. (Basically during the distilling process, before rum becomes rum, it can be consumed and that is the point where Brazilians say it's time to drink. It's very popular down there and dirt cheap.)

So, to illustrate the harm of all that drinking, the doctor took a normal water-glass and filled it with cachaça, which is as clear as water. Then he cracked open an egg and dropped it in. After a minute, the liquid had turned murky, and the egg black.

Pixinguinha was so impressed that he never ate eggs again for the rest of his life.

Michael

Know thyself...


#15 Jonathan

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:56 PM

I don't know if you are familiar with Niels Pedersen, but if want to hear one incredible bass player, watch this video. Pedersen is here paired with the equally remarkable Joe Pass. Guys like this, who leave even many accomplished jazz musicians far behind, never cease to amaze me.


Thanks for posting that, George. Pedersen really is amazing.

I personally prefer bass that's a little more funky or free style:

Victor Wooten:




Billy Sheehan:


J

#16 Robert Campbell

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 03:02 PM

George,

Thanks for posting that clip of Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pederson (they used to abbreviate his name to NHOP). I'd never seen video of NHOP before.

"Donna Lee" is a real challenge. Hard to believe that it was written by Miles Davis...

Robert Campbell

#17 George H. Smith

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 03:41 PM

George,

Thanks for posting that clip of Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pederson (they used to abbreviate his name to NHOP). I'd never seen video of NHOP before.

"Donna Lee" is a real challenge. Hard to believe that it was written by Miles Davis...

Robert Campbell


As you know, Pedersen often worked with Oscar Peterson. I have many of their albums.

Donna Lee, as performed in the video, was obviously something of an exhibition piece to display the technical skills of Pedersen and Pass. It's hard to believe that any bass player could keep up with Pass, given the lack of frets and the clumsy nature of the instrument, but Pedersen does.

I am reminded of a remark that a critic made about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: "Sure he was great, but don't forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards . . . and in high heels!"

Ghs

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 03:34 AM

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I LIKE IT :X



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