Quotes by Ornette Coleman

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The idea is more important than the style you're playing in. more...

The human being receives the pleasure from music, not from the argument over what it is. more...

I don't try to please when I play. I try to cure. more...

Harmelody allows everybody to be an individual who does not have to imitate anybody else. more...

Only America makes you feel that everybody wants to be like you. That's what success is: Everybody wants to be like you. more...

For me, being an innovator doesn't mean being more intelligent, more rich, it's not a word, it's an action. more...

Actually, when I was in elementary school, I saw a saxophone. A band came to my school, and I saw this guy get up and play this solo. And I said, 'Oh man, what is that! That must be fantastic! more...

Originally, I wanted to be a composer. I always tell people, 'I think of myself as a composer. more...

So, for instance, if you came to me, I'd ask,'Do you want to write? Do you want to improvise? Why do you want to play this instrument? What do you want to do? more...

I wasn't so interested in being paid. I wanted to be heard. That's why I'm broke. more...

We in the Western world suffer from too many categories and classes; we've forgotten that we all still have diapers on. We've separated music from life. more...

I'm interested in music, not in my image. If someone plays something fantastic, that I could never have thought of, it makes me happy to know it exists. more...

Jerry Garcia was one of the original American icons. He played naturally and beautifully. more...

When I have them working together, it's like a beautiful kaleidoscope. more...

The only thing my mother would say about my music-I'd say, "Mom, listen to this," and she'd say, "Junior, I know who you are. more...

So, for instance, if you came to me, I'd ask, 'Do you want to write? Do you want to improvise? Why do you want to play this instrument? What do you want to do?' more...

Music has many uses and I think the most perfected use that music has is one of a healing quality. more...

I would like to play for audiences who are not using my music to stimulate their sex organs. more...

Musicians tell me, if what I'm doing is right, they should never have gone to school. more...

Actually, I have another record I made with them in 1976, but I've had such a bad experience with record companies, because I keep my head so much in music and not in business. more...

I don't really live like a musician myself. I think music is just something that I do, but I'd like to be doing lots of other things. I like to cure all kinds of illness. more...

I mean, if you decided to go out today and get you an instrument and do whatever it is that you do, no one can tell you how you're going to do it but when you do it. more...

I've never had a relationship with a record executive. I always went to the record company by someone that liked my playing. Then they would get fired, and I'd be left with the record company. And then - because they got fired - the record company wouldn't do anything for me. more...

If you decide you want to be treated good, and you treat someone else good, or you want to learn something, it's information. It's getting the right, good information. more...

Most of my relationships have been like that - with record companies. I've never had a legitimate business relationship with a company. I've always had a personal relationship with someone in the company. more...

It seems to me that in the western world, culture has something to do with appearance. A person that's out creating good stuff has got to appreciate someone when they take the time to have an appearance that goes with what they're doing. more...

So, for instance, if you came to me, I'd ask,'Do you want to write? Do you want to improvise? Why do you want to play this instrument? What do you want to do?' more...

I remember once I read a book on mental illness and there was a nurse that had gotten sick. Do you know what she died from? From worrying about the mental patients not being able to get their food. She became a mental patient. more...

You don't have to worry about being a number one, number two, or number three. Numbers don't have anything to do with placement. Numbers only have something to do with repetition. more...

Actually, when I was in elementary school, I saw a saxophone. A band came to my school, and I saw this guy get up and play this solo. And I said, 'Oh man, what is that! That must be fantastic!' more...

I had a really good time in New Orleans, although I had some very tragic times in Baton Rouge. Some guys beat me up and threw my horn away. 'Cause I had a beard, then, and long hair like the Beatles. more...

It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something. more...

I'm having this conversation with you now. I'm talking, but I'm thinking, feeling, smelling, and moving. Yet I'm concentrating on what you're saying. So that means there's more things going on in the body than just the present thing that the person's got you doing. more...

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

Even when you write it, someone's got to play it. So if you can play it and bypass all the rest of the things, you're still doing as great as someone that has spent forty years trying to find out how to do that. I'm really pro-human beings, pro-expression of everything. more...

I asked my mother could I have an instrument. She said, 'Well if you go out and save your money.' So I went and got - I made me a shine box. I went out and started shining shoes, and I'd bring whatever I made. more...

I don't know what they're thinking about. Just because someone says, 'I like what you do' or something: They might like it today and tomorrow they might not. I've had that experience with record companies. more...

I've been playing with Blackwell over 20 years. We used to play when I first went to Los Angeles. Blackwell plays the drums as if he's playing a wind instrument. Actually, he sounds more like a talking drum. more...

I've had those people very interested in my writing. Since I think of myself as a composer, I feel really good. I've had lots of guys call me up. I've gotten two or three commissions to write things. I've written lots of movie scores. more...

It's just someone has labelled us as having a different label to do what you do. I find that labels are the worst thing in the world for artistic expression. more...

No one has to learn to spell to talk, right? You see a little kid holding a conversation with an adult. He probably doesn't know the words he's saying, but he knows where to fit them to make what he's thinking logical to what you're saying. more...

That's what I was trying to say when we were talking about sound. I think that every person, whether they play music or don't play music, has a sound - their own sound, that thing that you're talking about. more...

That's why I haven't been so anxious. But now, lots of people write and say, 'I want to find out what you're doing.' So I know that this book will enlighten them. more...

To me, human existence exists on a multiple level, not just on a two-dimensional level, not just having to be identified with what you do and what you say. more...

I decided, if I'm going to be poor and black and all, the least thing I'm going to do is to try and find out who I am. I created everything about me. more...

You've got to realize. In the western world, regardless of what color you are, what title the music is, it's all played by the same notes. more...

After I left Texas and went to California, I had a hard time getting anyone to play anything that I was writing, so I had to end up playing them myself. And that's how I ended up just being a saxophone player. more...

I think that those elements - light and sound - are beyond democratic. They're into the creative part of life. more...

Originally, I wanted to be a composer. I always tell people, 'I think of myself as a composer.' more...

All the things that human beings suffer from are how their environment treats them, and how the elements of their planet affects their mind and body - like radiation, cancer, and all. more...

I remember once, we got an interview, and he said, 'Dad, these people are writing about me like I'm an adult. Don't they know I'm a kid?' I have never tried to encourage him to get a music image like other musicians have. more...

It just makes that person feel that what his work is is going to be more valid. But who wants to see a guy standing in front, looking like a bum, doing something that a bums don't do? This don't make sense. more...

Whatever you do, it's over when you do it - but first you have to do it. more...

Making music is like a form of religion for me, because it soothes your heart and increases the pleasure of your brain. Most of all, it's very enjoyable to express something that you can only hear and not see, which is not bad. more...

After I found out that I was playing music and that I'd have to learn how to read and write music, I started doing that about two years later. Finally, I said, "Oh, that means what I really want to do is to be a composer." But when I was coming up in Texas, there was segregation. There was no schools to go to. I taught myself how to read and how to start writing. more...

Sound has no parents. more...

It seems the activity of expressing sound to do with music has just started blooming - and because of that, the beginners feel like they're professionals, and the professionals feel like they are beginners, which is very healthy. more...

I have often read critical pieces where the critic said that what the composer was trying to do didn't come off. I have wondered what the critic meant if he didn't know what the composer was trying to do. more...

The only thing my mother would say about my music-I'd say, Mom, listen to this, and she'd say, Junior, I know who you are. more...


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