Jazz is an American way of creating music. No other indigenous music reflects so clearly the American ideal of an individual's right to personal freedom. In many ways, jazz is the metaphor for the American ideal for democracy.
Jazz is America's classical music. As a language, jazz has developed steadily from a single expression of the consciousness of African Americans to a national music which expresses Americana to Americans as well as to people from other countries.
Jazz is synonymous with spontaneous composition and is an extension of the time-honored traditions of African griots, bards and minstrels who adapted their offerings to the dynamics of each occasion.
Jazz emerged from the need of African Americans to express themselves in musical terms as music was a tool used for communication and as relief from physical and spiritual burdens.
Jazz is America's classical music with its own standards of form, complexity, literacy and excellence and has been a major influence on the music of the world for more than one hundred years.
--- Dr. Billy Taylor
Jazz is the musical equivalent of what Kenneth Burke called representative anecdotes. By its nature, jazz typifies the national dynamics or natural history of exploration, discovery, and improvisation; and the ever so tentative settlement of what might become a great metropolis, a pit stop, or a ghost town of lost chords. As the musical equivalent of representative anecdotes, not only do jazz performances make people around the globe feel that they know the texture of life in the United States is like, they also make a significant number of these people want to become American.
Jazz is an Afro-American form. Everybody identifies with it because it is an adequate metaphor for the truth of the American experience. Do you get what I'm saying? That's why everybody feels "That's ours." And they identify with it because they're telling the story about America, the basic story of all Americans: you've got to be resilient.
--- Albert Murray
Jazz always makes people want to move. Jazz is music to move to - not just to listen to.
A part of American music is Jazz, born in the South. Woven into it in the Deep South were the rhythms of African drums that today make jazz music different from any other music in the world. Nobody ever made jazz before we did. Jazz is American music.
Jazz is played as one feels like playing it - for fun at that particular moment.
Jazz is the statement of the harmony with a percussive inflection.
Jazz - it's another attitude toward the use of percussive devices from instruments that aren't necessarily percussions instruments.
Jazz became beneficial to me. I came from a background where if something was set it was set in stone. And here were artists, people who were communicating emotion - the same thing I wanted to do - who worked with freedom, who were open, who joined together in an attitude of community and made things happen with great musicality, and who did it while maintaining their personalities.
You listen to three or four notes on the trumpet and know it's Louis Armstrong - there are thousands of trumpet players, but nobody else has that unique Armstrong sound. It's the same thing every actor strives for - a tone that's all your own.
---Robert Wagner (actor) from Pieces of My Heart