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Steve Lacy's Quotes

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Born: 1934-07-23
Profession: Musician
Nation: American
Biography of Steve Lacy

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It's very important to go through periods where you sound just rotten and you know it, and you have to persevere or give up.

Tags: Give, Persevere, Sound

Jazz is people's music, a collectivity.

Tags: Jazz, Music

Nobody was playing the soprano saxophone and certainly nobody was trying to do anything with it. So I was all alone. I didn't know that at first.

Tags: Alone, Playing, Trying

People don't want to suffer. They want to sound good immediately, and this is one of the biggest problems in the world.

Tags: Good, Problems, Sound

Register is very important. Music sounds best in a certain register.

Tags: Best, Music, Sounds

Some people really want to play Mozart and be just performers. I was more interested in invention.

Tags: Interested, Invention, Performers

The saxophone is a very interesting machine, but I'm more interested in music.

Tags: Interested, Machine, Music

The soprano turned out to sound to me like the right hand on the piano.

Tags: Hand, Piano, Sound

They call me before they go into production, when they have a prototype, and they call legitimate saxophonists, too. As opposed to the other kind.

Tags: Call, Legitimate, Production

To me, there is spirit in a reed. It's a living thing, a weed, really, and it does contain spirit of a sort. It's really an ancient vibration.

Tags: Living, Spirit, Weed

What I learned with Cecil Taylor was strategy and survival and how to resist temptations and resist getting discouraged.

Tags: Getting, Learned, Survival

When I first started playing music in 1955, there was just a small body of people that knew it. It was a very esoteric type of thing.

Tags: Body, Music, Small

When I found the music of Monk I finally found music that fit that horn. Every one of his tunes fit it perfectly.

Tags: Finally, Found, Music

When I heard Monk in person in 1955, he was playing with a quartet in a small club. The place was full of musicians, but there was no public at all.

Tags: Place, Playing, Small

Whoever has an original thing to say, it is sort of a threat to the status quo.

Tags: Original, Status, Threat

You must have the music to justify an instrument's extensive use.

Tags: Instrument, Justify, Music

If you listen to Louis Armstrong from 1929, you will never hear anything better than that really, and you will never hear anything more free than that.

Tags: Free, Hear, Listen

The more original something is, the more of a threat it seems until the people catch up with it. That happened with Thelonious Monk. It happened with anybody who is really original.

Tags: Anybody, Seems, Until

The soprano has all those other instruments in it. It's got the soprano song voice, flute, violin, clarinet, and tenor elements and can even approach the baritone in intensity.

Tags: Approach, Song, Voice

There is an awful lot of what I call recreational jazz going on, where people go out and learn a particular language or style and become real sharks on somebody else's language.

Tags: Become, Else, Real

We played for peanuts. But we did what we wanted to do, we heard what we wanted to hear, we performed what we wanted to perform, we learned what we wanted to learn.

Tags: Learn, Learned, Wanted

Kenny G, I have to be grateful to him for proving that the instrument can be played all different kinds of ways.

Tags: Grateful, Him, Ways

I think it is in collaboration that the nature of art is revealed.

Tags: Art, Nature, Revealed
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Jazz is like wine. When it is new, it is only for the experts, but when it gets older, everybody wants it.

Tags: Everybody, Older, Wine

Risk is at the heart of jazz. Every note we play is a risk.

Tags: Heart, Jazz, Risk

When I came up, it was all about originality and collective research. There is an awful lot of imitation going on now.

Tags: Awful, Imitation, Research

If you're trying to invent something new, you're going to reach a lot of discouraging points, and most people give up.

Tags: Give, Reach, Trying

Play difficult and interesting things. If you play boring things, you risk losing your appetite. Saxophone can be tedious with too much of the same.

Tags: Boring, Difficult, Losing

Saxophone is one thing, and music is another.

Tags: Another, Music, Saxophone

The potential for the saxophone is unlimited.

Tags: Potential, Saxophone, Unlimited

You can work on the saxophone alone, but ultimately you must perform with others.

Tags: Alone, Others, Work

You have to sound sad first of all, then maybe later you can sound good.

Tags: Good, Maybe, Sad

Bamboo is not a weed, it's a flowering plant. Bamboo is a magnificent plant.

Tags: Bamboo, Plant, Weed

Before the work comes to you, you have to invent work.

Tags: Invent, Work

Circumstances can be very important. Find the right people to work with.

Tags: Work

I fell in love with jazz when I was 12 years old from listening to Duke Ellington and hearing a lot of jazz in New York on the radio.

Tags: Listening, Love, Old

I heard Sidney Bechet play a Duke Ellington piece and fell in love with the soprano saxophone.

Tags: Heard, Love, Piece

I started in New Orleans music and played all through the history of jazz.

Tags: History, Music, Started

I still love the whole history of jazz. The old things sound better than ever.

Tags: History, Love, Old

I wanted to be a pianist but it just wasn't my thing. I guess I wanted to stand up rather than sit down.

Tags: Rather, Stand, Wanted

I was spoiled by Monk's music because it was so good, so complete.

Tags: Good, Music, Spoiled

I've always been extremely lucky in playing with great people who knew much more than I did. That's how I got from there to here.

Tags: Great, Here, Playing

I've been working on the soprano saxophone for 40 years, and the possibilities are astounding. It's up to you, the only limit is the imagination.

Tags: Limit, Saxophone, Working

I've performed solo for 20 years now, but I don't do much of it, because if you only play alone, you go crazy and out of tune and play foolish music.

Tags: Alone, Crazy, Music

If you have music you want to play that no one asks you to play, you have to go out and find where you can play it. It's called do or die.

Tags: Asks, Die, Music

It starts with a single sound. If there's something in that sound, then it's worth continuing.

Tags: Single, Sound, Worth
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