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Miles Davis In His Own Words

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Miles-Davis-Quotes

Miles Davis always had plenty to say about himself, his music and music in general, and especially jazz. Unlike many others it was almost always worth hearing…

1. “The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas.”

2. “A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I’m still doing it.”

3. “I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.”

4. “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”

5. “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”

6. “It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”

Miles Davis Quotes 2

7. “Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the mother****er who plays it is 80 percent.”

8. “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.”

9. “ I always listen to what I can leave out.”

10. “For me, music and life are all about style.”

11. “If you don’t know what to play, play nothing.”

12. “If you got up on the bandstand at Minton’s and couldn’t play, you were not only going to be embarrassed by the people ignoring you or booing you, you might get your ass kicked.”

13. “Jazz is the big brother of Revolution. Revolution follows it around.”

14. “I don’t care if a dude is purple with green breath as long as he can swing.”

15. “You know why I quit playing ballads? Cause I love playing ballads.”

16. “Always look ahead, but never look back.”

17. “I don’t like to hear someone put down Dixieland. Those people who say there’s no music but bop are just stupid; it shows how much they don’t know.”

18. “At least one day out of the year all musicians should just put their instruments down, and give thanks too Duke Ellington.”

19. “Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.”

20. “If you understood everything I say, you’d be me!”

Explore our dedicated Miles Davis Artist Page.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Aderito Matsimbe

    September 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    The Greatest Jazz Artist ever

    • uDiscover

      September 28, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Aderito, you are o right!

  2. seth klutse

    September 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Miles Davis is and well always be my man.

  3. Charles Gunn

    September 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    He was the Emperor of Improvisational Innovative Simplistic Excellence!

    • LR

      September 29, 2015 at 2:33 am

      Look up the meaning of “simplistic”.

  4. Lee V Wright

    September 28, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    The self of me chose Miles 60 years ago and it has enriched all the music I hear. It’s because I know there’s Miles, I recognize the maverick squeak of
    a heel on the floor or the sound of a breeze meant
    just for me. When the music that Miles plays leaves the page; i.e. if it ever was there, leaves his horn, it stayed with me. Music loves the maverick, I’m told:
    However, if one is not of this ilk you don’t live in this neighborhood

  5. Jim C

    September 28, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    I am so grateful to have seen him in person a few times. Absolutely brilliant.

  6. Charles

    September 28, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    I listen to his music like he’s playing it for me alone. Selfish?
    So What!

  7. Ron Weber

    September 29, 2015 at 2:05 am

    I loved Miles, but if ALL of those quotations made sense, you’re not cool, you’re Yogi Berra! (both R.I.P.)

  8. Sayeeda

    September 30, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I am really surprised to see that the great Miles Davis had processed hair way back when!! Did not know many jazz musicians (except Sachmo/LA) wore that style–only R&B singers. But I still love him!!!!! Of course, there was Nat King Cole…

  9. Owaniyi Taiwo

    November 13, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Jazz Master and Jazz Zombie of all time.R.I.P…You really impacted my music life and my playing method.You made my brass life lively and interesting.Thank you!…Miles Davis……

  10. chas

    January 10, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    As I recall, I think I played in an Air Force concert band while I was overseas in Japan & Korea back in the dark ages.

  11. Yves Denis Priam

    April 25, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Glad and amazed by the clarity of the late Miles Davis’ declarations.

  12. Freddy Rattler

    May 26, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    He wrote the book and closed the book. only something that’s not Jazz at all can follow.

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