Quotes

Quotes about Louis Armstrong

"What he does is real, and true, and honest, and simple, and even noble. Every time this man puts his trumpet to his lips, even if only to practice three notes, he does it with his whole soul." -Leonard Bernstein

"If you don't like Louis Armstrong, you don't know how to love." -Mahalia Jackson

"Louis Armstrong is the master of the jazz solo. He became the beacon, the light in the tower, that helped the rest of us navigate the tricky waters of jazz improvisation." -Ellis Marsalis

"He's the father of us all, regardless of style or how modern we get. His influence is inescapable. Some of the things he was doing in the 20's and 30's, people still haven't dealt with." -Armstrong disciple Nicholas Payton

"Armstrong is to music what Einstein is to physics and the Wright Brothers are to travel." -Jazz documentary producer Ken Burns

"It's America's classical music ... this becomes our tradition ... the bottom line of any country in the world is what did we contribute to the world? ... We contributed Louis Armstrong." -Tony Bennett

"If anybody was Mr. Jazz it was Louis Armstrong. He was the epitome of jazz and always will be. He is what I call an American standard, an American original." -Duke Ellington

"He left an undying testimony to the human condition in the America of his time." -Wynton Marsalis

"You can't play anything on a horn that Louis hasn't played." -Miles Davis

"I'm proud to acknowledge my debt to the 'Reverend Satchelmouth' ... He is the beginning and the end of music in America." -Bing Crosby

".. Armstrong's improvisational verve and technical virtuosity defined jazz ... and his engaging personality and ever-present grin made him a natural as the international ambassador of jazz, America's greatest gift to the world" -Life Magazine, "100 People Who Made the Millennium"

"The extent of his influence across jazz, across American music, and around the world has such continuing stature that he is one of the few who can easily be mentioned with Stravinsky, Picasso and Joyce. His life was the embodiment of one who moves from rags to riches, from anonymity to internationally imitated innovator. Louis Daniel Armstrong supplied revolutionary language that took on such pervasiveness that it became commonplace, like the light bulb, the airplane, the telephone." -Stanley Crouch; Time Magazine; June 8, 1998

Quotes by Louis Armstrong

"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."

"Man, all music is folk music. You ain’t never heard no horse sing a song, have you?"

"If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it."

“If ya ain't got it in ya, ya can't blow it out.”

"Musicians don't retire; they stop when there's no more music in them." 

"There is two kinds of music, the good, and the bad. I play the good kind."

"You blows who you is."

"There are some people that if they don't know, you can't tell them."

"We all do 'do, re, mi,' but you have got to find the other notes yourself."

"The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the back yard on a hot night or something said long ago."

“My whole life, my whole soul, my whole spirit is to blow that horn...”

“Seems to me it ain't the world that's so bad but what we're doing to it, and all I'm saying is: see what a wonderful world it would be if only we'd give it a chance. Love, baby - love. That's the secret.”

"What we play is life."