Not all of us have to possess earthshaking talent. Just common sense and love will do.Myrtle Auvil
- "For me, music and life are all about style."
- "I've changed music four or five times. What have you done of any importance other than be white?"
- The music has gotten thick. Guys give me tunes and they're full of chords. I can't play them...I think a movement in jazz is beginning away from the conventional string of chords, and a return to emphasis on melodic rather than harmonic variation. There will be fewer chords but infinite possibilities as to what to do with them.
- About the new modal style. Interviewed by The Jazz Review, 1958.
- "If somebody told me I only had an hour to live, I'd spend it choking a white man. I'd do it nice and slow."
- During an interview, after growing aggravated about questions on the subject of race.
- "A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I'm still doing it."
- On being called a legend.
- "Jazz is like blues with a shot of heroin"
- "Who's that motherfucker? He can't play shit!"
- on Cecil Taylor
- "You a motherfucker."
- a compliment to Chick Corea, who thought he was about to be fired.
- "He plays like somebody is standing on his foot."
- on Eric Dolphy
- "He could very well be the Duke Ellington of Rock 'n' Roll."
- on Prince
- "Why'd you put that white bitch on there?"
- "You can't play anything on a horn that Louis hasn't played."
- "I’ll play it and tell you what it is later."
- During a recording session for Prestige, on the album "Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet" (1956).
- "Listen baby, when I say later, I mean it! Later!"
- After being approached by a relentless interviewer.
- "There are no wrong notes."
- "My ego only needs a good rhythm section." On being asked what he looked for in musicians.
- "When you are creating your own shit, man, even the sky ain't the limit."
- "Try taking the fucking horn out of your mouth."
- Davis was questioning the increasing length of John Coltrane solos, and Trane answered "I don't know how to stop."
- "It's that goddamned motherfucking 'Machine Gun.'"
- "Don't play what's there, play what's not there."
- Charles R. Cross, Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix, 2005: ISBN 1-4013-0028-6