There’s a spiritual satisfaction that one gets from listening and playing good Jazz.
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When I was in the country and I was trying to play, nobody seemed to pay too much attention to me. People used to say, ‘That’s just that ole blues singer.’
Judy Garland was the singer I most wanted to sound like then, not to copy, but to get some of her soul and purity. A wonderful young voice.
When you make a sound, it carries on to infinity. Sound is a vibration. Vibration is energy. All of that survives in space long after were dead. When I walk on stage at the Wiener Staatsoper, I can feel the footsteps of Chopin and Rachmaninov.
A lot of singers think all they have to do is exercise their tonsils to get ahead. They refuse to look for new ideas and new outlets, so they fall by the wayside… I’m going to try to find out the new ideas before the others do.
In Europe they look upon jazz as art. In America it’s a diversion. Somebody opens a restaurant and installs another band off to the side. People don’t listen.
If it wasn’t for hustlers, gangsters and gamblers there’d be no Jazz. Wasn’t middle-class who said Let’s go hear Bird tonight.