Top 23 Wadada Leo Smith Quotes of 2020

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“I don’t set out to win awards. I don’t think any musician does, but when you receive an award, it’s an affirmation: it means that people appreciate what you do. Every award I have received is a confirmation of something I have done, and that motivates me to push a little harder.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I think all art is, by nature, intended to motivate society for change, and the only reason change doesn’t happen is because within the target population, courage is lacking.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“Seeing the bigger picture opens your eyes to what is the truth.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“When you live in the South, you’re constantly part of the civil rights movement.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I wanted to identify that the black experience is American experience.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“All art is political. Yes. Even the stuff that sounds like bubble-gum songs. I think all art is, by nature, intended to motivate society for change, and the only reason change doesn’t happen is because within the target population, courage is lacking.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I have been in dialogue with my family about what can actually be done. We’ve come up with this philosophy that in a truly multicultural society, the only way to have liberty and justice for everybody is to have multiple parties. And by multiple parties, I mean 50 parties, not one or two.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I’ve got that Beethoven energy, that Stravinsky energy. And it’s all a gift from the Creator.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“When Barack Obama was elected, it immediately brought out all the differences in society.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“There’s nothing unnatural in creation.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“The only thing that makes change possible is the idea of developing some kind of institution, because the institutions will survive individuals.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I’m an optimist. I have always been, and I will continue to be. So I believe there’s always a possibility of transforming or changing or doing something different.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“My solo playing utilizes the deployment of suggestive psychic rhythms. I’ll state these throughout a given piece and play thematic improvisations on top of that. I like to suggest that rhythmic movement without always playing it. I like to create openings that I can step into.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“Jazz infers a style, but creative music has a wider field and wider specification about it. We know it from people like Scott Joplin and on through Bessie Smith.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“When I first started, I worked with my father, Alex ‘Little Bill’ Wallace; he was a guitarist like B.B. King. I was around 13 when I started, and I learned a lot by looking and listening. I learned how to be a bandleader from watching that band work.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“The artist is the consciousness of society… but musicians’ role is very special.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“Everything and anything is valuable.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“From now back to the past, we can observe clearly that none of us is free.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“We have these old fashioned ideas. For instance, here in America, we talk about democracy – but we don’t have a democracy. There are elements of a democracy.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I always felt of myself as a composer, performer, improviser. I’ve never called myself a jazz man. I make art.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I don’t set out to win awards. I don’t think any musician does, but when you receive an award, it’s an affirmation: it means that people appreciate what you do.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I started composing when I was around 13, and back then, people used to say that I needed to be a composer or a performer, but I can’t be good at both of them. I could never understand why anyone would say that. Jellyroll did both, Bessie Smith did both, and so did I.”

― Wadada Leo Smith

“I write all the time. I always have. I can pick up my horn to warm up, and an idea will pop into my head, and I’ll write it down and file it away for another time.”

― Wadada Leo Smith
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