Celebrities / Influencers

73 Duke Ellington Quotes on Life & Jazz (INSPIRING)

Top 10 Most Famous Duke Ellington Quotes (BEST)

“Roaming through the jungle of “Ohs” and “Ahs”, searching for a more agreeable noise, I live a life of primitivity with the mind of a child and an unquenchable thirst for sharps and flats.”

Duke Ellington
A goal is a dream with a finish line.Pin
A goal is a dream with a finish line.
I don't need time, I need a deadline.Pin
I don’t need time, I need a deadline.
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.Pin
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
Be a number one yourself. And not a number two somebody else.Pin
Be a number one yourself. And not a number two somebody else.
Simplicity is a most complex form.Pin
Simplicity is a most complex form.
We write and play from our perspective, and the audience listens from its perspective. If and when we agree, I am lucky.Pin
We write and play from our perspective, and the audience listens from its perspective. If and when we agree, I am lucky.
There are 2 rules in life Number 1- Never quit, Number 2- Never forget rule number 1.Pin
There are 2 rules in life: Number 1- Never quit, Number 2- Never forget rule number 1.
There are two kinds of worries - those you can do something about and those you can't. Don't spend any time on the latter.Pin
There are two kinds of worries – those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.
Create, and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste.Pin
Create, and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste.

13 Thought-Provoking Duke Ellington Quotes About Life

“His greatest virtue, I think, was his honesty–not only to others but to himself. He demanded freedom of expression and lived in what we consider the most important of moral freedoms; freedom from hate, unconditionally; freedom from all self-pity (even throughout all the pain and bad news); freedom from fear of possibly doing something that might help another more than it might help himself; and freedom from that kind of pride that could make a man feel he was better than his brother or neighbor.”

Duke Ellington
Gray skies are just clouds passing over.Pin
Gray skies are just clouds passing over.
You've got to find some way of saying it without saying it.Pin
You’ve got to find some way of saying it without saying it.
My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never.Pin
My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never.
My mother told me I was blessed, and I have always taken her word for it. Being born of - or reincarnated from - royalty is nothing like being blessed.Pin
My mother told me I was blessed, and I have always taken her word for it. Being born of – or reincarnated from – royalty is nothing like being blessed.
Self-discipline, as a virtue or an acquired asset, can be invaluable to anyone.Pin
Self-discipline, as a virtue or an acquired asset, can be invaluable to anyone.
It doesn't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing.Pin
It doesn’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing.
I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.Pin
I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be too famous too young.Pin
Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn’t want me to be too famous too young.
A man is a god in ruins.Pin
A man is a god in ruins.
People do not retire. They are retired by others.Pin
People do not retire. They are retired by others.
Sing sweet, but put a little dirt in it.Pin
Sing sweet, but put a little dirt in it.
Tomorrow is in the wings waiting for you to sound her entrance fanfare.Pin
Tomorrow is in the wings waiting for you to sound her entrance fanfare.

16 Duke Ellington Quotes That Will Raise Your Appreciation in Music

“I began by tinkering around with some old tunes I knew. Then, just to try something different, I set to putting some music to the rhythm that I used in jerking ice-cream sodas at the Poodle Dog. I fooled around with the tune more and more until at last, lo and behold, I had completed my first piece of finished music.”

Duke Ellington
If it sounds good and feels good, then it is good!Pin
If it sounds good and feels good, then it is good!
Music is my mistress and she plays second fiddle to no one.Pin
Music is my mistress and she plays second fiddle to no one.

“In music, as you develop a theme or musical idea, there are many points at which directions must be decided, and at any time I was in the throes of debate with myself, harmonically or melodically, I would turn to Billy Strayhorn. We would talk, and then the whole world would come into focus. The steady hand of his good judgment pointed to the clear way that was fitting for us. He was not, as he was often referred to by many, my alter ego. Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine.”

Duke Ellington
I never had much interest in the piano until I realized that every time I played, a girl would appear on the piano bench to my left and another to my right.Pin
I never had much interest in the piano until I realized that every time I played, a girl would appear on the piano bench to my left and another to my right.
Music is the tonal reflection of beauty.Pin
Music is the tonal reflection of beauty.
You can’t write music right unless you know how the man that’ll play it plays poker.Pin
You can’t write music right unless you know how the man that’ll play it plays poker.
It's like an act of murder; you play with intent to commit something.Pin
It’s like an act of murder; you play with intent to commit something.
There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.Pin
There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.
Music, of course, is what I hear and something that I more or less live by. It's not an occupation or profession, it's a compulsion.Pin
Music, of course, is what I hear and something that I more or less live by. It’s not an occupation or profession, it’s a compulsion.
What does music mean to you? What would you do without music?Pin
What does music mean to you? What would you do without music?
I like any and all of my associations with music - writing, playing, and listening.Pin
I like any and all of my associations with music – writing, playing, and listening.
A musical profit outweighs a financial loss.Pin
A musical profit outweighs a financial loss.
My biggest kick in music - playing or writing - is when I have a problem. Without a problem to solve, how much interest do you take in anything?Pin
My biggest kick in music – playing or writing – is when I have a problem. Without a problem to solve, how much interest do you take in anything?
In music, as you develop a theme or musical idea, there are many points at which directions must be decided.Pin
In music, as you develop a theme or musical idea, there are many points at which directions must be decided.
New music Hell, there’s been no new music since Stravinsky.Pin
New music? Hell, there’s been no new music since Stravinsky.

8 Duke Ellington Quotes About Jazz

“Put it this way: Jazz is a good barometer of freedom. In its beginnings, the United States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.”

Duke Ellington
By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of man you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with.Pin
By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.
Jazz is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.Pin
Jazz is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to decide where jazz starts or where it stops, where Tin Pan Alley begins and jazz ends, or even where the borderline lies between between classical music and jazz. I feel there is no boundary line.”

Duke Ellington
Jazz is a good barometer of freedom.Pin
Jazz is a good barometer of freedom.
Jazz today, as always in the past, is a matter of thoughtful creation, not mere unaided instinct.Pin
Jazz today, as always in the past, is a matter of thoughtful creation, not mere unaided instinct.
Somehow I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today, he might be a jazz fan himself.Pin
Somehow I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today, he might be a jazz fan himself.
If anybody was Mr. Jazz it was Louis Armstrong. He was the epitome of jazz and always will be.Pin
If anybody was Mr. Jazz it was Louis Armstrong. He was the epitome of jazz and always will be.

3 Duke Ellington Quotes About Art

Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions when it ceases to be dangerous you don't want it.Pin
Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don’t want it.
There is hardly any money interest in art, and music will be there when money is gone.Pin
There is hardly any money interest in art, and music will be there when money is gone.
There is no art when one does something without intention.Pin
There is no art when one does something without intention.

3 Duke Ellington Quotes About Love

Love is supreme and unconditional. Like is nice, but limited.Pin
Love is supreme and unconditional. Like is nice, but limited.
Love is indescribable and unconditional. I could tell you a thousand things that it is not, but not one that it is. Either you have it or you haven't; there's no proof of it.Pin
Love is indescribable and unconditional. I could tell you a thousand things that it is not, but not one that it is. Either you have it or you haven’t; there’s no proof of it.
Selfishness is essential to survival, and without survival we cannot protect those whom we love more than ourselves.Pin
Selfishness is essential to survival, and without survival we cannot protect those whom we love more than ourselves.

2 Duke Ellington Quotes on Musicians

The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.Pin
The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.
The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.Pin
The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.

2 Duke Ellington Quotes on Critics

“Critics have their purposes, and they’re supposed to do what they do, but sometimes they get a little carried away with what they think someone should have done, rather than concerning themselves with what they did.”

Duke Ellington
Critics get a little carried away with what someone should have done, rather than what he did.Pin
Critics get a little carried away with what someone should have done, rather than what he did.

3 Duke Ellington Quotes on Spirituality

“On becoming more acquainted with the word of the Bible, I began to understand so much more of what I had been taught, and of what I had learned about life and about the people in mine.”

Duke Ellington
Everyone prays in their own language, and there is no language that God does not understand.Pin
Everyone prays in their own language, and there is no language that God does not understand.

“How can anyone expect to be understood unless he presents his thoughts with complete honesty? This situation is unfair because it asks too much of the world. In effect, we say, ‘ I don’t dare show you what I am because I don’t trust you for a minute but please love me anyway because I so need you to. And, of course, if you don’t love me anyway, you’re a dirty dog, just as I suspected, so I was right in the first place.’ Yet, every time God’s children have thrown away fear in pursuit of honesty-trying to communicate themselves, understood or not, miracles have happened.”

Duke Ellington

2 Duke Ellington Quotes on Bands

There is nothing to keeping a band together. You simply have to have a gimmick, and the gimmick I use is to pay them money!Pin
There is nothing to keeping a band together. You simply have to have a gimmick, and the gimmick I use is to pay them money!
If you have a great band with a mediocre drummer, you have a mediocre band. If you have a mediocre band with a great drummer, you have a great band!Pin
If you have a great band with a mediocre drummer, you have a mediocre band. If you have a mediocre band with a great drummer, you have a great band!

11 Duke Ellington Quotes That Will Make You Think

“The common root, of course, comes out of Africa. That’s the pulse. The African pulse. It’s all the way back from the old slave chants and up through the blues, the jazz, and up through rock. And it’s all got the African pulse.”

Duke Ellington
New York is a place where the rich walk, the poor drive Cadillac's, and the beggars die of malnutrition with thousands of dollars hidden in their mattresses.Pin
New York is a place where the rich walk, the poor drive Cadillac’s, and the beggars die of malnutrition with thousands of dollars hidden in their mattresses.
Now I can say loudly and openly what I have been saying to myself on my knees.Pin
Now I can say loudly and openly what I have been saying to myself on my knees.

“Everybody in Canada seemed to listen to what they enjoyed, and nobody could tell them what to like, or what was the popular, or what was the In thing. Even today, it is very hard to brainwash a Canadian.”

Duke Ellington
Playing 'bop' is like playing Scrabble with all the vowels missing.Pin
Playing ‘bop’ is like playing Scrabble with all the vowels missing.
I fluffed off the guy who kept requesting tunes all night, then found out he was the King's son.Pin
I fluffed off the guy who kept requesting tunes all night, then found out he was the King’s son.
A Satin Doll is a woman who is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside.Pin
A Satin Doll is a woman who is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside.
I don't believe in categories of any kind, and when you speak of problems between blacks and whites in the U.S.A. you are referring to categories again.Pin
I don’t believe in categories of any kind, and when you speak of problems between blacks and whites in the U.S.A. you are referring to categories again.
Dancing is very important to people who play music with a beat. I think that people who don't dance, or who never did dance, don't really understand the beat.Pin
Dancing is very important to people who play music with a beat. I think that people who don’t dance, or who never did dance, don’t really understand the beat.
Hurry, get on board, it’s comin’, listen to those rails a-thrumming all aboard. Get on the “A” train, soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem.Pin
Hurry, get on board, it’s comin’, listen to those rails a-thrumming all aboard. Get on the “A” train, soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem.
The Europeans who went to Africa came back with 'modern' art. What is more African than a Picasso?Pin
The Europeans who went to Africa came back with ‘modern’ art. What is more African than a Picasso?
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Duke Ellington Quotes on Life & Jazz (INSPIRING) - Gracious QuotesPin
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