Steve Lacy Quotes


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.

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.

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.

Saxophone is one thing and music is another.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

Make the drummer sound good.

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

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

Jazz is people's music a collectivity.

In composition you have all the time you want to decide what to say in 15 seconds in improvisation you have 15 seconds.

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

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

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

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.

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

Jazz is like wine. When it is new it's only for the experts but when it gets older everybody wants it.

Jazz is like wine. When it is new it is only for the experts but when it gets older everybody wants it.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

The potential for the saxophone is unlimited.

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.

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

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.

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

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