The 15 Best Miles Davis Quotes

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

To many, the name Miles Davis is synonymous with cool.

Truly, the jazz musician did more for the style of music than just about any to walk the earth. With his horn, Davis adapted through the decades, bringing rock and roll to jazz, bringing psychedelics to the style, changing it from bop! to something smoother, at times, too.

But what did Davis have to say (in his signature raspy voice) about his work? What did he have to say about life and love, about struggles and pain? About America and other musicians?

Well, that is the subject of this inquiry here today. So, without further ado, let’s dive deep into the Best 15 Miles Davis quotes.

1. “I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning… Every day I find something creative to do with my life.”

2. “Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.”

3. “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”

4. “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”

5. “For me, music and life are all about style.”

6. “A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I’m still doing it.”

7. “I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.”

8. “When I’m playing, I’m never through. It’s unfinished. I like to find a place to leave for someone else to finish it. That’s where the high comes in.”

9. “I have to change. It’s like a curse.”

10. “I know what I’ve done for music, but don’t call me a legend. Just call me Miles Davis.”

11. “Space music would be really something… but they don’t have no gravity up there. You couldn’t have no downbeat!”

12. “When you do anything too long, you either wear it out or lose interest.”

13. “Prince got some Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix and Sly in him, also, even Little Richard. He’s a mixture of all those guys and Duke Ellington.”

14. “Jimi Hendrix came from the blues, like me. We understood each other right away because of that. He was a great blues guitarist.”

15. “If you understood everything I say, you’d be me!”

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Mavis Staples and Levon Helm Cover Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”

The Writer’s Block: Janis Ian on Nearly 60 Years of Song