Top 17 Carla Bley Quotes

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“Living composers writing for big band are very few and far between. There are not a lot of them, and I have a talent for doing it. I am zeroing in on what I do best.”

― Carla Bley

“Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker seemed so sophisticated and bad. I wanted to be like that.”

― Carla Bley

“I don’t enjoy traveling in America. I don’t like the food, the cars. It is not exotic enough. It all tastes a bit like airline food.”

― Carla Bley

“I don’t need much coaxing.”

― Carla Bley

“I don’t think you can ever regain your ignorance.”

― Carla Bley

“I got started when I was 3 years old because my father was a music teacher and my lessons were free. Instead of learning to walk, you learn to play the piano.”

― Carla Bley

“I just got to hear every note. After I left Birdland, I started working at the Jazz Gallery. In the end, I still couldn’t play, but I knew how to listen. I was probably the world’s best listener.”

― Carla Bley

“I like chords that are very lush with all the lush parts taken out.”

― Carla Bley

“I still prefer the bebop of the ’40s. The very stuff I started out with is still the best to me. I have come full circle.”

― Carla Bley

“I write very slowly.”

― Carla Bley

“It would be really hard to get serious about anything political today unless it was a joke.”

― Carla Bley

“Listening is more important than anything else because that’s what music is. Somebody is playing something and you’re receiving it. It is sending and receiving.”

― Carla Bley

“One performer whose band played my music better than I could myself was Art Farmer. He recorded ‘Sing Me Softly of the Blues’ and ‘Ad Infinitum’.”

― Carla Bley

“There are times when what’s happening in rock is the best music in the world, and there are times when there is nothing worthwhile at all.”

― Carla Bley

“When Ronald Reagan was elected I was on a bus traveling with a band in France. I wrote a little arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner in a minor key.”

― Carla Bley

“When you are studying jazz, the best thing to do is listen to records or listen to live music. It isn’t as though you go to a teacher. You just listen as much as you can and absorb everything.”

― Carla Bley

“When you have 13 horns, and one is soloing, you have 12 people to play the richest, fullest chord you could ever imagine behind that solo.”

― Carla Bley
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