Wynton Marsalis


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

Author Quotes

Blues is like the roux in a gumbo. People ask me if jazz always has the blues in it. I say, if it sounds good it does.

I almost never watch TV, except for '60 Minutes' and pro football. I love Drew Brees, the Manning brothers and the Steelers' linebackers.

I had a trumpet, but I didn't want to be a trumpet player. I wanted to be some type of athlete or in some type of scholarly activity, be a chemist or something?I had my little chemistry set, and I like playing with it.

I wanted to make somebody feel like Coltrane made me feel, listening to it.

Instead of imposing your will on every situation...focus on including everyone else, and just that little adjustment of attitude gives you the space to understand where and who you are.

Jazz is not just 'Well, man, this is what I feel like playing.' It's a very structured thing that comes down from a tradition and requires a lot of thought and study.

Music is always for the listener, but the first listener is always the musician

One thing about excellence, it?s an exclusive club. And it?s only for those who really want to pay dues to the shit. My daddy told me when I was a boy, The only way you can be different from other people is to do some shit they don?t want to do?

The culture of this city is essential to its well-being. The culture of New Orleans is its identity.

The soul gives us resilience - an essential quality since we constantly have to rebound from hardship.

This rebuilding of New Orleans gives us the perfect opportunity to see if we're ready to extend the legacy of Dr. King.

We're going to kill ourselves this week to bring the spirit of jazz (back to New Orleans).

You had the good-time people right next to a lot of real church people.

But you listen to Coltrane and that?s something human, something that?s about elevation. It?s like making love to a woman. It?s about something of value, it?s not just loud. It doesn?t have that violent connotation to it. I wanted to be a jazz musician so bad, but I really couldn?t. There was no way I could figure out to learn how to play.

I always like to play very contemporary concepts of swing right next to New Orleans music because it highlights continuum.

I had to figure out how to survive in New York, and most of my time was occupied in getting an apartment and getting money. A lot of older jazz guys looked out for me and found me gigs and places to stay.

If I had to say one thing that's important, we need to bring our artists back.

It ain't as hard as picking cotton

Jazz is not the kind of music you are going to learn to play in three or four years or that you can just get because you have some talent for music.

Musicians like to converse. There's always interesting conversation with musicians - with classical musicians, with jazz musicians, musicians in general.

Only a few act - the rest of us reap the benefits of their risk.

The Duke and Swing represent affirmation in the face of adversity.

The thing in jazz that will get Bix Beiderbecke out of his bed at two o'clock in the morning, pick that cornet up and practice into the pillow for another two or three hours, or that would make Louis Armstrong travel around the world for fifty plus years non-stop, just get up out of his sick bed, crawl up on the bandstand and play, the thing that would make Duke Ellington, the thing that would make Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Mary Lou Williams, the thing that would make all of these people give their lives for this, and they did give their lives, is that it gives us a glimpse into what America is going to be when it becomes itself. And this music tells you that it will become itself. And when you get a taste of that, there's just nothing else you're going to taste that's as sweet.

Those who play for applause...That?s all they get.

We're not afraid of opposition - we welcome discussion.

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