Saxophone is one thing, and music is another.
Some people really want to play Mozart and be just performers. I was more interested in invention.
The more original something is, the more of a threat it seems until the people catch up with it. That happened with Thelonious Monk. It happened with anybody who is really original.
The potential for the saxophone is unlimited.
The saxophone is a very interesting machine, but I'm more interested in music.
The soprano has all those other instruments in it. It's got the soprano song voice, flute, violin, clarinet, and tenor elements and can even approach the baritone in intensity.
The soprano turned out to sound to me like the right hand on the piano.
There is an awful lot of what I call recreational jazz going on, where people go out and learn a particular language or style and become real sharks on somebody else's language.
They call me before they go into production, when they have a prototype, and they call legitimate saxophonists, too. As opposed to the other kind.
To me, there is spirit in a reed. It's a living thing, a weed, really, and it does contain spirit of a sort. It's really an ancient vibration.
We played for peanuts. But we did what we wanted to do, we heard what we wanted to hear, we performed what we wanted to perform, we learned what we wanted to learn.
What I learned with Cecil Taylor was strategy and survival and how to resist temptations and resist getting discouraged.
When I came up, it was all about originality and collective research. There is an awful lot of imitation going on now.
When I first started playing music in 1955, there was just a small body of people that knew it. It was a very esoteric type of thing.
When I found the music of Monk I finally found music that fit that horn. Every one of his tunes fit it perfectly.
Whoever has an original thing to say, it is sort of a threat to the status quo.
You can work on the saxophone alone, but ultimately you must perform with others.
You must have the music to justify an instrument's extensive use.
Right away, you felt the architecture of his music was very strong, so whatever you were going to put on top adornments or improvising you really had to know the material.
The sad part is the emotional toll it's taken over the years.
Bamboo is not a weed, it's a flowering plant. Bamboo is a magnificent plant.
Before the work comes to you, you have to invent work.
Circumstances can be very important. Find the right people to work with.
I fell in love with jazz when I was 12 years old from listening to Duke Ellington and hearing a lot of jazz in New York on the radio.
I heard Sidney Bechet play a Duke Ellington piece and fell in love with the soprano saxophone.