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What the Greatest Quotes About Jazz Tell Us About the Industry

Jazz has been around for about a hundred years, which means people have been talking about jazz for a hundred years. Some of these discussions have gone down in history and are well-loved within the jazz community, but what do they say about the industry?

“When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hang-ups…I want to speak to their souls” – John Coltrane

We all know that music is a powerful influence, a great way for people to express themselves but also a great way to bring people together. Music has been a uniting force for years, so it is no wonder we see one of the kings of jazz mentioning this. Whilst filming for How to Make a Living in Jazz, we have certainly noticed that jazz musicians usually turn around to give someone behind them a leg up, which is why so many helpful organisations such as NYJO exist. We have seen one of our three young musicians, Ben Appiah, dedicate most of his time to teaching music and spreading the joy of jazz because jazz is best enjoyed together.

“In my music, I’m trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it’s difficult is because I’m changing all the time” – Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus was a big believer in bringing something new to jazz, which is definitely an ambition we recognise. Whilst filming for How to Make a Living in Jazz, we watched Tom Smith compose and record music for his upcoming album. One of his biggest ambitions was to create new notes and sounds with his saxophone and he definitely draws a lot from himself to do so.

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong” – Ella Fitzgerald

Ella was already paving the way for herself in the jazz world, which was mostly dominated by men, which might be why the message to just keep pushing your voice through was so important to her. Typically, people tend to believe that you have to come from money and music in order to be successful in the industry, but the truth is that you just need dedication. Funding, scholarships and other options mean anyone can become a musician if they show real talent and commitment. In fact, lots of people think you’re done for if you don’t come from a musical capital, but Christos Stylianides has proven that, whilst it helps to travel for music, you can make a name for yourself wherever you are. Christos’ talent and connections are wide-reaching! Want to learn more about how to become successful in the music industry? See our interviews and trailers for our upcoming documentary,