John Coltrane Jazz Quotes

“Over all, I think the main thing a musician would like to do is give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things that he knows of and senses in the universe. . . That’s what I would like to do. I think that’s one of the greatest things you can do in life and we all try to do it in some way. The musician’s is through his music.” - John Coltrane

“Sometimes I wish I could walk up to my music for the first time, as if I had never heard it before. Being so inescapably a part of it, I’ll never know what the listener gets, what the listener feels, and that’s too bad.”
- John Coltrane

“All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.”
- John Coltrane

“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being … When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups … I want to speak to their souls.”
- John Coltrane

"I think playing and writing go hand in hand. I don't feel that at this stage of the game I can actually sit down and say I'm going to write a piece that will do this or that for the people -a thing which some artists can do- but I'm trying to tune myself so I can look to myself and to nature and to other sounds in music and interpret things that I feel there and present them to people. Eventually I hope to reach a stage where I have a vast warehouse of study and knowledge to be able to produce any certain thing.
Duke Ellington is one person who can do this -that's really heavy musicianship and I haven't reached that stage yet. I've been predominantly a soloist all my natural life, and now I'm a soloist with my own band, and this has led me into this other thing: what am I going to play and why?
My material is mainly my own, and I find some of my best work comes from the most challenging material. Sometimes we write things to be easy, sometimes to be hard, it depends on what we want to do. A year ago we had quite a few standards which made up a third of the book, but now other people, certainly Ornette (Coleman) and Eric (Dolphy), have been responsible for other influences." - John Coltrane 1962 interview, "Jazz Monthly"

"It's more than beauty that I feel in music -that I think that musicians feel in music. What we know we feel we'd like to convey to the listener. We hope that this can be shared by all. I think, basically, that's about what it is we're trying to do. If you ask me that question, I might say this today and tomorrow something entirely different, because there are many things to do in music.
But over-all, I think the main thing a musician would like to do is to give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things he knows and senses in the universe. That's what music is to me -it's just another way of saying this is a big, beautiful universe we live in, that's been given to us, and here's an example of just how magnificent and encompassing it is. That's what I would like to do, I think that's one of the greatest things you can do in life, and we try to do it in some way. The musician's way is through his music." - John Coltrane (When asked what he and Eric Dolphy were trying to achieve)

Miles Davis, in addition to being one of the most talented and distinctive musicians to grace the annals of jazz history, had a unique reputation when it came to his speaking voice–both for his hoarse whisper and his pithy, rather Zen-like way of communicating with his band members, which sometimes resulted in amusing exchanges, such as his retort to John Coltrane’s lament that he couldn’t stop soloing: “Try taking the saxophone out of your mouth.”