Sometimes you hear or read a quote or thought by a musician or music lover which has a meaning you can identify with, which strikes a chord. Or perhaps you read a poem or some factual information that is meaningful. Three rather dated jazz quotes, for example, are 'It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing' and 'Jazz is the sound of surprise' both by Ellington and 'If you've got to ask, you'll never know' by Basie. Here are some interesting examples below then a list of proverbs.
'If it's not lyrical I'm not interested' - Chet Baker.
'Listening is the key' - Jim Hall.
'You'll just have to listen because I don't talk loud' - Ed Bickert.
'He plays with subtlety and intelligence. Unfortunately these are the least appreciated qualities' - Gunther Schuller talking about Lee Konitz.
'I could spend the rest of my days playing just 'All The Things You Are' - Lee Konitz.
'A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to the it's original dimension' - passed on to me by Kathleen Marlor.
'Sometimes you can learn more about music by just going for a walk in the countryside' - R Veitch.
'If you strip away the history of jazz guitar to it's essence, all you would be left with is Freddie Green' - Jim Hall.
Come fill the cup and in the fire of spring
Thy winter garment of repentance fling
The bird of time has but a little way to flutter
And the bird is on the wing.
Gather ye rose buds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
'True musical depth is not about better playing but about more organic playing' - Kenny Werner.
'Sometimes it's not what you say but what you don't say that says something' - R Veitch.
'No - too hard!' - Barry Galbraith.
'It's the sound of a girl saying Yes' - Hoagy Carmichael talking about Bix Beiderbecke's stunningly beautiful tone.
Astonishing fact - in one year, 1815, when only eighteen years of age, the lyrical genius Franz Schubert had his 'annus mirablis' - a phenomenal output of compositions. Four singspiel, one and a half symphonies, a string quartet, nine works for solo piano, eight orchestral church works, twenty four partsongs mostly with piano accompaniment and around one hundred and forty lieder songs. Over half this output included full orchestration. Had he been a full time composer that output would have been remarkable but during that year he was employed as a teacher, maintained social contacts with old students, had twice a week lessons with his mentor Salieri, went to concerts/rehearsals, did some private teaching (source - Schubert - the Music and the Man - Brian Newbould). I wonder if he had he been around today might he have been a great jazz musician?
Hail to thee, blithe spirit
Bird thou never wert
That from heaven, or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strain of unpremeditated art.
Teach us, sprite or bird
What sweet thoughts are thine
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now. (extract from Shelley's 'Ode to the Skylark').
Up with me! up with me into the clouds!
For thy song, Lark, is strong;
Up with me, up with me into the clouds!
With clouds and sky about thee ringing,
Lift me, guide me till I find
That spot which seems so to thy mind! ('To a Skylark' by William Wordsworth).
'You have to be content with those who love and understand. As for the rest, well, they are just not worth bothering about' - Frederick Delius, late in his life.
'Quite often simple things, played well, are the best of all. Paradoxically, attaining simple beauty is the most elusive thing' - R Veitch.
'What is best in music is not to be found in the notes' - Gustav Mahler.
'Never compose anything unless the not composing of it becomes a positive nuisance to you' - Gustav Holst.
'A composer is a person who goes round forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules' - Frank Zappa.
'Art is making something out of nothing and selling it' - Frank Zappa.
THE INNOCENT PUT DOWN
Most musicians have such tales of comments from audience/fixers etc.
I've experienced the couple immediately below recently so I thought I'd record them and add others as I hear them.
From a punter after a set which included 'A nightingale sang', Bye Bye Blackbird, 'Swing that music', 'I let a song go out of my heart'. "Enjoyed your music but I have some advice - play tunes people know - such as 'Take Five'.
From someone in the bar after a wonderful concert by a sublime international artist in the Getz style - "Six quid for that!"
From a booker over the phone - "I'm desperate, I've tried everyone - any chance you can dep?"
From a punter after a gig - "I bought your CD - its great. In fact I would have paid double for it. Where did you get it? In a car boot sale for a quid"
From a punter to a New Orleans style band - "Can you play something more lively such as 'Goodness gracious great balls of fire'?"
From a booking agent - 'Can you fix a duo in the style of Robbie Williams and his big band?'
I like proverbs - they are like folk music, handed down aurally generation to generation, the wisdom of past experience. How sad that many are dying out due to lack of usage.
I realised it when, at my old place of work, I referred to 'not spoiling the ship for a halfpennyworth of tar' to get only a blank, puzzled reaction from my younger colleagues.
So here is a list of some of my favourite old proverbs - then a comprehensive alphabetical list with full credit to website www.manythings.org/proverbs
Don't spoil the ship for a half-pennyworth of tar.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
Many hands make light work.
Look before you leap.
Wise head, silent mouth.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Time and tide stand still for no man.
You never miss the water till the well runs dry.
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
A bad penny always turns up.
A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Actions speak louder than words.
All good things must come to an end.
All's fair in love and war.
All that glitters is not gold.
All's well that ends well.
Appearances can be deceptive.
As you make your bed so must you lie in it.
As you sow, so shall you reap.
Ask no questions and hear no lies.
Bad news travels fast.
Beauty is skin deep.
Beggars can't be choosers.
Better late than never.
Better safe than sorry.
Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Blood is thicker than water.
Boys will be boys.
Charity begins at home.
Christmas comes but once a year.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Curiosity killed the cat.
Dead men tell no lies.
Death is the great leveller.
Diligence is the mother of good fortune.
Discretion is the better part of valour.
Divide and conquer.
Do not overstay your welcome.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.
Don't get into deep water before you can swim.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Don't wash your dirty linen in public.
Early to bed, early to rise - makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Sometimes things are easier said than done.
Every bird loves to hear his own song.
Every dog has his day.
Everyone has a skeleton in the cupboard.
Everyone has their price.
Every picture tells a story.
Experience is the mother of all wisdom.
Failure teaches success.
Success breeds success.
Faith can move mountains.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
Fear of death is worse than death itself.
Fight fire with fire.
Finders keepers, losers weepers.
First come, first served.
First things first.
Think before you speak.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Give credit where credit is due.
Give him an inch and he'll take a mile.
Give the devil his due.
God helps those who help themselves.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Goodness is better than beauty.
Great minds think alike (repost - small ones rarely differ).
He that is master of himself shall soon be master of others.
He that knows nothing doubts nothing.
He that plants a tree plants for posterity.
He who hesitates is lost.
Honesty is the best policy.
If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well.
Ignorance is bliss.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
It is best to be on the safe side.
It's no use crying over spilt milk.
It never rains but it pours.
It takes two to tango.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
Mouth shut, eyes open.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Let bygones be bygones.
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Let the buyer beware.
Life is just a bowl of cherries.
Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.
Like father, like son.
Like mother, like daughter.
Live and learn.
Live and let live.
Look after number one.
Always look on the bright side.
Love conquers all.
Love is blind.
Love makes the world go round.
Love sees no faults.
Make hay while the sun shines.
Men can not live by bread alone.
Many hands make light work.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
Might is right.
Best to mind your own business.
Money is the root of all evil.
Money isn't everything.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Never judge by appearances.
Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
Never speak ill of the dead.
Its never too late to learn.
No man can serve two masters.
Nobody is indispensable.
No news is good news.
No pain, no gain.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Nothing succeeds like success.
Old habits die hard.
One good turn deserves another.
One man's loss is another man's gain.
Opportunity seldom knocks twice.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Patience is a virtue.
Penny wise, pound foolish.
Practice makes perfect.
Practice what you preach.
Prevention is better than cure.
The rats desert a sinking ship.
Revenge is sweet.
Don't rob Peter to pay Paul.
You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
Seeing is believing.
Silence is golden.
Something is better than nothing.
Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Still waters run deep.
Strike while the iron is hot.
The best things in life are free.
The bigger they are the harder they fall.
The early bird catches the worm.
The end justifies the means.
The first step is the hardest.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
The last straw breaks the camel's back.
The more you know the less you believe.
The more you get the more you want.
Its the pot calling the kettle black.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
There are only twenty four hours in a day.
There is a time and place for all things.
There is no honour among thieves.
There is more than one way to skin a cat.
There is safety in numbers.
There's a black sheep in every flock.
There's no fool like an old fool.
There's no place like home.
There's no smoke without fire.
There's one law for the rich and another for the poor.
They that dance must pay the fiddler.
Things are not always what they seem.
Those that live in glass houses should not throw stones.
Time cures all things.
Time is a great healer.
Time is money.
To err is human.
Tomorrow is another day.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
True love never grows old.
Trust is the mother of deceit.
Just turn the other cheek.
Two heads are better than one.
Two is company, three is a crowd.
Two wrongs do not make a right.
United we stand, divided we fall.
Variety is the spice of life.
Virtue is its own reward.
Walls have ears.
Waste not, want not.
What you don't know can't hurt you.
When in doubt, do nowt.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
When the cat's away the mice will play.
Where there is no trust there is no love.
Where there's a will there's a way.
You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.
You can't please everyone.
You can't take it with you when you die.
You can't tell a book by its cover.
You can't win them all.
You can't have it all ways.
You can't have your cake and eat it.
You don't get something for nothing.
You win some, you lose some.
2nd September 2011
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