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—LL Cool J
"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment, and do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds, and shine."
"Happiness is not a memory but a reality. Reality is neither past nor future but only now. NOW is the greatest time there ever was."
"Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. So why not just be happy?"
When I was coming up, we weren't trying to get a hit or to get paid, we were just trying to do our thing. Truth is, the only thing we really wanted was to get out there and get recognized for our originality.
After that happened, we said 'OK, all right, so now what? What's it really all about?' Well, at the end of the day, what it all boils down to is this: we're all riding on the same boat. And we have to learn how to deal with each other, to get along.
So that's what music is for — to bring us together.
"I'd been studying the microphone for a dozen years when I suddenly saw what I'd been doing wrong. I'd been singing too loud. One night I was listening to a record by Lester Young, the horn player, and it came to me. Relax, just relax. It's all going to be all right." ~Marvin Gaye
I'm studying Bach's two-part inventions, and am reminded of something John LaPorta pointed out to me years ago at Berklee.
J. S. Bach was reputedly a great improviser at the keyboard. Sadly, we'll never hear him. But the contrapuntal lines in his Inventions & Sinfonias, in terms of their structure and cantibile quality, are remarkably like those found in the Charlie Parker Omnibook.
That is, Bird and the architects of bebop (far from the bon sauvage stereotype) were such accomplished musicians that they could improvise at a blistering tempo with a melodic logic comparable to Bach's.
Compare, for example, this Bach invention, performed by Glenn Gould, to this performance of "Koko" by Bird & Diz.
James Moody's Grammy win tonight is a beautiful thing, but long overdue.
The last of the original generation of bebop masters, Moody died in December at age 85, just two months too early for him to appreciate the honor.
Nevertheless, the award decision is heartening.
It affirms that we in the jazz arena, unlike the rest of the youth-obsessed music industry, celebrate our pioneering elders above all.
And it proves -- believe it! -- that melody, warmth, swing and soul are still relevant.
In fact, they may just be what matters most.
Some of my favorite nuggets of James Moody wisdom...
Moody on Race:
"There's only one country. Mankind is one. All that stuff about different races—about your kind and my kind—that's bullshit."
Moody on Technique:
"It's a challenge constantly. I've had a saxophone for over 50 years and I still can't play it. Some days I wake up and say, 'Hello,' and the saxophone says, 'I don't know you.' But I keep at it."
Moody on Bandleading:
"A lot of times when you go somewhere to work, they put you with people who they think will work well together. That doesn't go. A band is like a marriage. Can't nobody pick a wife for you. You've gotta do it yourself. Only you know what you like, man."
Moody on Ego:
"Blessed are those who run around in circles, for they shall be called Big Wheels."
Moody on Music:
"Practice, work hard, but then let God take over. Jazz is a spiritual music. Remember, when you play music, you're praying. And most of all, learn to love yourself."
James Moody Discography
Since 1932. Small in size but not in flavor. A thin, all-beef burger patty grilled to perfection and topped with diced onions, tasty mustard and a juicy dill pickle, all on a square, steamy bun. Simple, small, square...delicious. By the sack-full!