Wynton Marsalis

Wynton
Marsalis
1961

American Jazz and Classical Trumpet Virtuoso, Composer, Teacher, Music Educator and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC

Author Quotes

Don't settle for style. Succeed in substance.

I became a man in New York. New York made me the musician that I am and the person that I am, so it's impossible for me to say I regret having lived there.

I have friends who will critique me much harder than any review.

If you want to be different, do something different.

It was Dr. King's tireless activism that fostered our modern way of relating to one another.

Jazz music is America's past and its potential, summed up and sanctified and accessible to anybody who learns to listen to, feel, and understand it. The music can connect us to our earlier selves and to our better selves-to-come. It can remind us of where we fit on the time line of human achievement, an ultimate value of art.

My father is a jazz musician, so I grew up hearing jazz. My parents loved it, but I didn't like it. It went on for too long. Yes, I had certain teachers that really inspired me, like Danny Barker, and John Longo. And I had no idea that I would have any impact on jazz.

So I believed in studying just because I knew that education was a privilege. And it wasn?t so much necessarily the information that you were studying, but just the discipline of study, to get into the habit of doing something that you don?t want to do, to receive the information . . .

The heart of a music is its rhythm. The heart of rhythm section music is the rhythm.

There is an idea that a mind is wasted on the arts unless it makes you good in math or science. There is some evidence that the arts might help you in math and science.

To put on your suit and play jazz music... knowing that many people in your audience have never experienced any jazz whatsoever, you have to believe beyond the fear of rejection. But that fear is part of creating.

What is deeper than respect and love? That?s what we felt: veneration.

Invest yourself in everything you do. There?s fun in being serious.

Don't wish for someone else to do later what you can do now.

I believe in professionalism, but playing is not like a job. You have to be grateful to have the opportunity to play.

I hope it might help players have confidence in our own ways, and not to be afraid of them, as Bernstein showed - things like hoe-downs, fiddle songs, and the art of improvisation, and the New Orleans funeral tradition, and call-and-response church singing, and the fact that the blues run through everything. And in our relationship to European music, in that we don't have to imitate it, it's a part of us, inseparable.

If you're not making mistakes, you're not trying.

It was the best and the worst week I ever had.

Jazz music is the power of now.

My mother always took my brothers and me to music lessons. There were six children. Our parents attended our concerts and encouraged us to study and enjoy many different types of music.

Some stances are just conducive to swinging. If I stand up straight for too long it's harder to swing. Plus my feet hurt.

The history of jazz lets us know that this period in our history is not the only period we've come through together. If we truly understood the history of our national arts, we'd know that we have mutual aspirations, a shared history, in good times and bad.

There really have only ever been a few people in each generation who step out, are willing to put themselves on the line, and risk everything for their beliefs.

Today you go into make a modern recording with all this technology. The bass plays first, then the drums come in later, then they track the trumpet and the singer comes in and they ship the tape somewhere. Well, none of the musicians have played together. You can't play jazz music that way. In order for you to play jazz, you've got to listen to them. The music forces you at all times to address what other people are thinking and for you to interact with them with empathy and to deal with the process of working things out. And that's how our music really could teach what the meaning of American democracy is.

What I've learned how to do as I've gotten older is to take all of the information that I have, and push it aside, and try to distill each song into an emotional theme. The hardest thing that I've ever had to learn how to do in playing music is use the sound of my instrument to create an emotional effect.

Author Picture
First Name
Wynton
Last Name
Marsalis
Birth Date
1961
Bio

American Jazz and Classical Trumpet Virtuoso, Composer, Teacher, Music Educator and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC