Miles Davis Quotes

Who is Miles Davis?

Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer.

Born May 26, 1926
Died September 28, 1991

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Best 29 Quotes by Miles Davis

“A painting is music you can see and music is a painting you can hear.”

“Always listen for what you can leave out.”

“Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the m*therf*cker who plays it is 80 percent.”

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”

“Don't play what's there, play what's not there.”

“Don't worry about playing a lot of notes. Just find one pretty one.”

“First you imitate, then you innovate.”

“Good music is good no matter what kind of music it is.”

“I can tell whether a person can play just by the way he stands.”

“I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.”

“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.”

“If you have to ask, you'll never know.”

“If you sacrifice your art because of some woman, or some man, or for some color, or for some wealth, you can't be trusted.”

“If you understood everything I say, you'd be me!”

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“If you're not nervous then you're not paying attention.”

“In high school I was best in music class on the trumpet, but the prizes went to the boys with blue eyes. I made up my mind to outdo anybody white on my horn.”

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“To throw a shoe at a man in Dundee is the equivalent of a kiss on the cheek and an embrace in London. Dundee is a very different place; they have their own rules.”


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“In improvisation, there are no mistakes.”

“In music, silence is more important than sound.”

“It takes a long time to sound like yourself.”

“It's like, how did Columbus discover America when the Indians were already here? What kind of shit is that, but white people's shit?”

“It's not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”

“It's not the note you play that's the wrong note - it's the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.”

“Jazz is like blues with a shot of heroin!”

“Knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery.”

“Music is the framework around the silence.”

“People will go for anything they don't understand if it's got enough hype.”

“Some day I'm gonna call me up on the phone, so when I answer, I can tell myself to shut up.”

“We don't play to be seen. I'm addicted to music, not audiences.”

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“You should never be comfortable, man. Being comfortable fouled up a lot of musicians.”