41 Total Quotes

Sonny Rollins Quotes

Very much so. When I was in India at an ashram, my teacher told me, `When you are playing your horn, that's meditation.' And that is a way of worship,
Sonny Rollins
#India

That's a pretty tall order, ... I don't want to sound too grandiose or that I can represent jazz [in its entirety]. But as one of few remaining people from that period [the heyday of bebop during the '40s and '50s], I want to represent myself and the kind of musicians from that period, so that people who are new to the music can say, 'These people were good; they aren't just a bunch of old moldy figs.'
Sonny Rollins
#Jazz

Playing in public engenders new paths in your brain that you won't get playing alone. In other words, I can learn something playing in public in five seconds. If I was learning it in private, it might take me three months to get.
Sonny Rollins
#Words

As the years went by and jazz got more popular and social conditions changed, you were able to have jazz as a topic introduced into the music curriculum in universities, ... I think that one thing that hip-hop and jazz have in common is that they are both coming out of the minority subculture and we've faced some of the same problems. They are attacked in different ways . . . but they are a minority in a majority culture, so they are unfortunately discriminated against by the larger portion of the majority community.
Sonny Rollins
#Jazz

I look at all that from the inside, so you'd probably have to ask someone else.
Sonny Rollins
#Ask

It was a distinct honor because of the people inducted. Some were such giants of the music. I didn't really feel worthy to be included with Fats Waller.
Sonny Rollins
#Honor

The whole creation of jazz is sort of leading toward the ultimate. I'm not trying to be self-aggrandizing here, but I think that the jazz soloist is the pinnacle of what jazz is about.
Sonny Rollins
#Creation

Charlie Parker stuck out in my mind.
Sonny Rollins
#Mind

We were right on the margins of society. Who really cared about jazz?
Sonny Rollins
#Jazz

If you could do that, it's great to do it. And a lot of great musicians have done it. A lot of musicians get to a point and stay in that groove all of their career. I have just not been able to do it because I don't think I'm a good enough musician. Someone was criticizing Miles, and Miles said, 'The truth is, it's much more difficult for me to play the way I did in 1947. It's really a physical thing. Sure, I like to experiment, but it's really a physical element.' He brought up a good point. That kind of playing, you've got to be young, in a way. It demands a certain youthful vigor.
Sonny Rollins
#Musicians

A lot of guys died very early. Very few guys, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, very few of those guys reached my age of 67, which I am at the present.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

But if I didn't have to make money, I would still play my horn.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

Europeans really provided many venues over there and hailed the jazz artists, and a lot of musicians went over there and stayed over there for a long time. A lot of them moved over there, lived over there, and died over there.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

Even the most jingoistic person would have to admit that even American cultural music comes from Europe. That's what classical music is, real European music.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I am a person who thinks about the music first in trying to achieve something musically valid.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I can name a lot of people whose productive, whose creativity dies when they got L.A. Maybe it's too laid back. It's too comfortable.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I don't think jazz should try to change. I think jazz is varied enough and there is so many different kinds of jazz. So jazz doesn't need to change.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I don't want to appear hostile, like I'm hostile to L.A. or that I feel that the people don't appreciate jazz. I don't think it's that. I think it's something more. It's something a little bit more complicated than that.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I enjoy playing clubs. I still enjoy the closeness of the nightclub venue. However, after a certain period of time and after playing around some of the clubs in New YorkI felt that jazz should be presented in a more prestigious atmosphere.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I feel that L.A. has not always been my strongest base for support. That can be for various reasons.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I guess fortunate that I'm still around and I emphasize I guess because you never can tell what musicians would be playing had they been around as long as I have.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I have always been a person who is concerned with the dignity of jazz music and the way jazz musicians have been treated and are treated, and the fact that the music has not been given the kind of due that it deserves.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I have seen great jazz musicians die obscure and drinking themselves to death and not really being able to get any work and working in small, funky jazz clubs.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I miss playing with Miles. I did play with him a little while before he left the planet, but even at that time I longed to maybe do some things together.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I think as long as people are around and can hear a record and hear people like Lester Young on a recording, there will always be a great inspiration for somebody to try to create jazz.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I think the problem starts with the general appreciation of the music in the larger society.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I think we are in the midst of this period where we are committing this suicide on the planet and everybody is just using up all of our natural resources like a bunch of insane people. That's what I worry about more than I worry about jazz.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I think what we need is a more welcoming mode from the people who put on a hundred million country-western shows on television. How about a monthly jazz show?
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

I've played with all of the heavyweights in the modern jazz, progressive jazz movement. I've been fortunate enough to play with them, a who's who. All of those guys, I've been fortunate enough to have performed with.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician

It's all about creation and surprise. It just needs to be appreciated and watered like flowers. You have to water flowers. These peaks will come again.
Sonny Rollins
#American Musician