90 Duke Ellington Quotes From The Legendary Jazz Musician

Jazz lovers will love Duke Ellington quotes
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Duke Ellington was an American jazz composer who was the leader of his orchestra, The Washingtonians, formerly known as Elmer Snowden.

He was one of the greatest jazz composers and pianists of all time who made a major impact with his musical compositions not only in America but worldwide. His 14-member band consisted of many talented musicians like his best friend, Otto Hardwick, and others like Sonny Greer, James Bubber Miley, Harry Carney, and many more.

During his musical career, he formed a jazz band named The Duke's Serenaders, thereby adopting his stage name Duke. He greatly influenced the world of jazz music as the leader and anchor of the American Orchestra. He had also received a Pulitzer Prize posthumously for his work and contributions to the world of music. Here's a list of some of the best and most influential quotes of Duke Ellington, both by and about him. From Duke Ellington quotes about music to Duke Ellington quotes about love, there are great Duke Ellington quotes for everyone here.

If you like these Duke Ellington quotes, check out these Ella Fitzgerald quotes and Thelonious Monk quotes for more.

Duke Ellington Quotes About Music

Are you ready to discover the best Duke Ellington quotes? Duke Ellington was one of the greatest jazz musicians who had made a great impact worldwide with his work. Here is a list of the greatest Duke Ellington quotes about music that may intrigue you. Which of these Duke Ellington quotes is your favorite?

1. "Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don't want it."

- Duke Ellington.

2. "Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one."

- Duke Ellington.

3. "Playing 'bop' is like playing Scrabble with all the vowels missing."

- Duke Ellington.

4. "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."

- Duke Ellington.

5. "I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues."

- Duke Ellington.

6. "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!"

- Duke Ellington.

7. "The common root, of course, comes out of Africa. That's the pulse. The African pulse."

- Duke Ellington.

8. "It's like an act of murder; you play with intent to commit something."

- Duke Ellington.

9. "By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with."

- Duke Ellington.

10. "There is hardly any money interest in art, and music will be there when money is gone."

- Duke Ellington.

11. "If it sounds good, it is good."

- Duke Ellington.

12. "The wise musicians are those who play what they can master."

- Duke Ellington.

13. "Music is the tonal reflection of beauty."

- Duke Ellington.

14. "What does music mean to you? What would you do without music?"

- Duke Ellington.

15. "I like any and all of my associations with music - writing, playing, and listening."

- Duke Ellington.

16. "There is no art when one does something without intention."

- Duke Ellington.

17. "Jazz is a good barometer of freedom."

- Duke Ellington.

18. "I fluffed off the guy who kept requesting tunes all night, then found out he was the King's son."

- Duke Ellington.

19. "We write and play from our perspective, and the audience listens from its perspective. If and when we agree, I am lucky."

- Duke Ellington.

20. "Jazz today, as always in the past, is a matter of thoughtful creation, not mere unaided instinct."

- Duke Ellington.

21. "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."

- Duke Ellington.

22. "Somehow I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today, he might be a jazz fan himself."

- Duke Ellington.

23. "A musical profit outweighs a financial loss."

- Duke Ellington.

24. "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?"

- Duke Ellington.

25. "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!"

- Duke Ellington.

26. "Sing sweet, but put a little dirt in it."

- Duke Ellington.

28. "Create, and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste."

- Duke Ellington.

29. "In music, as you develop a theme or musical idea, there are many points at which directions must be decided..."

- Duke Ellington.

30. "The artist must say it without saying it."

- Duke Ellington.

Duke Ellington Song Quotes

Famous jazz music quotes by Duke Ellington are the best.

Are you enjoying these Duke Ellington quotes? Here's another list of some of the most heart-soothing Duke Ellington quotes from songs that Duke Ellington wrote. Do you recognize these Duke Ellington quotes?

31. "Lord, dear Lord above, God almighty, God of love, Please look down and see my people through."

- Duke Ellington, 'Come Sunday'.

32. "Hurry, hurry, hurry. Take the A train to get to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem. If you should take the A train you'll get to where you're going in a hurry."

- Duke Ellington, 'The A Train'.

33. "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. Well it don't mean a thing all you got to do is sing."

- Duke Ellington, 'It Don't Mean A Thing'.

34. "Someone told someone and someone told you, but they wouldn't hurt you, not much. Since every one spreads the story with his own little personal touch."

- Duke Ellington, 'Do Nothin Till You Hear From Me'.

35. "They say into your early life romance came. And in this heart of yours burned a flame. A flame that flickered one day and died away."

- Duke Ellington, 'Sophisticated Lady'.

36. "Do nothing till you hear from me. Pay no attention to what's said. Why people tear the seam of anyone's dream is over my head."

- Duke Ellington, 'Do Nothin Till You Hear From Me'.

37. "Then, with disillusion deep in your eyes, you learned that fools in love soon grow wise. The years have changed you, somehow. I see you now."

- Duke Ellington, 'Sophisticated Lady'.

38. "What good is melody? What good is music? If it ain't possessing something sweet now it ain't the melody and it ain't the music."

- Duke Ellington, 'It Don't Mean A Thing'.

39. "If you hear a song in blue like a flower crying for dew. That was my heart serenading you, my prelude to a kiss."

- Duke Ellington, 'Prelude To A Kiss'.

40. "Diamonds shining, dancing, dining with some man in a restaurant. Is that all you really want? No, sophisticated lady, I know, you miss the love you lost long ago and when nobody is nigh you cry."

- Duke Ellington, 'Sophisticated Lady'.

Quotes About Duke Ellington

We can't get enough of these Duke Ellington quotes! Duke Ellington had greatly influenced jazz music by the compositions he wrote. Here's a list of Duke Ellington quotes by famous people who had a lot of great things to say about Duke Ellington. See the true value of his talent in these Duke Ellington quotes.

41. "In recognition of his musical genius, which evoked aesthetically the principles of democracy through the medium of jazz and thus made an indelible contribution to art and culture."

- The Pulitzer Prize, Special Citation Awards.

42. "Duke Ellington was famous for his very original harmonic patterns."

- Lawrence Welk.

43. "As for my band, well, my mentors were Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Jimmie Lunceford, and no one had a band more smartly dressed than Duke."

- B. B. King.

44. "Duke Ellington always had a style: original, clean with interesting color combinations. He had an artist's eye."

- Wynton Marsalis.

45. "You always come back to Duke Ellington - he's kind of like the thread that holds everything together from the big band descending to lots of jazz, actually."

- Herbert.

46. "At least one day out of the year all musicians should just put their instruments down, and give thanks to Duke Ellington."

- Miles Davis.

48. "When I got through, Duke Ellington stood up and started the applause."

- Ruth Brown.

49. "My teachers are Duke Ellington and nature."

-Toru Takemitsu.

50. "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."

- Steve Lacy.

Famous Duke Ellington Quotes

Duke Ellington quotes may be beautifully soothing to the soul.

Are you ready for the final Duke Ellington quotes? Here's a list of some famous Duke Ellington quotes from one of the most influential jazz music composers. Which of these Duke Ellington quotes is your favorite?

51. "A problem is a chance for you to do your best."

- Duke Ellington.

52. "My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never."

- Duke Ellington.

53. "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."

- Duke Ellington.

54. "People do not retire. They are retired by others."

- Duke Ellington.

55. "Selfishness is essential to survival, and without survival we cannot protect those whom we love more than ourselves."

- Duke Ellington.

56. "You've got to find some way of saying it without saying it."

- Duke Ellington.

57. "Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be too famous too young."

- Duke Ellington.

58. "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.

59. "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."

- Duke Ellington.

60. "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.

61. "There are 2 rules in life: Number 1 - Never quit. Number 2 - Never forget rule number 1."

-Duke Ellington.

62. "It doesn't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing."

- Duke Ellington, 'Don't Mean A Thing'.

63. "Now I can say loudly and openly what I have been saying to myself on my knees."

- Duke Ellington.

64. "Selfishness can be a virtue."

- Duke Ellington.

65. "Love is supreme and unconditional. Like is nice, but limited."

-Duke Ellington.

66. "Gray skies are just clouds passing over."

- Duke Ellington.

67. "I don't need time, I need a deadline."

-Duke Ellington.

68. "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."

- Duke Ellington.

69. "A man is a god in ruins."

- Duke Ellington.

70. "Critics get a little carried away with what someone should have done, rather than what he did."

- Duke Ellington.

71. "Every man prays in his own language."

- Duke Ellington.

72. "There is no art without intention."

- Duke Ellington.

74. "A Satin Doll is a woman who is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside."

- Duke Ellington.

75. "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."

- Duke Ellington.

76. "Tomorrow is in the wings waiting for you to sound her entrance fanfare."

- Duke Ellington.

77. "Self-discipline, as a virtue or an acquired asset, can be invaluable to anyone."

- Duke Ellington.

78. "Be a number one yourself. And not a number two somebody else."

- Duke Ellington.

79. "Simplicity is a most complex form."

- Duke Ellington.

80. "The Europeans who went to Africa came back with 'modern' art. What is more African than a Picasso?"

- Duke Ellington.

81. "A goal is a dream with a finish line."

- Duke Ellington.

82. "There is no language that God does not understand."

- Duke Ellington.

83. "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."

-Duke Ellington.

84. "There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind."

- Duke Ellington.

85. "How can anyone expect to be understood unless he presents his thoughts with complete honesty?"

- Duke Ellington.

86. "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."

-Duke Ellington.

87. "You have to stop listening in categories. The music is either good or it's bad."

- Duke Ellington.

88. "If anybody was Mr. Jazz it was Louis Armstrong. He was the epitome of jazz and always will be."

- Duke Ellington.

89. "You can't write music right unless you know how the man that'll play it plays poker."

- Duke Ellington.

90. "The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen."

- Duke Ellington.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Duke Ellington quotes, why not take a look at these [Frank Sinatra quotes] or [jazz quotes] for another list of great quotes to think about?

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