65 Duke Ellington Quotes On Success In Life

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than six decades. These Duke Ellington quotes will motivate you.

Best Duke Ellington Quotes

  1. “There are 2 rules in life:
    Number 1- Never quit
    Number2- Never forget rule number 1.” ~ Duke Ellington
  2. “There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.” ~ Duke Ellington
  3. “Put it this way: Jazz is a good barometer of freedom… In its beginnings, the United States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.” ~ Duke Ellington
  4. “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” ~ Duke Ellington
  5. “Music, of course, is what I hear and something that I more or less live by. It’s not an occupation or profession, it’s a compulsion.” ~ Duke Ellington , Duke Ellington quotes about music
  6. “Everyone prays in their own language, and there is no language that God does not understand.” ~ Duke Ellington
  7. “A goal is a dream with a finish line.” ~ Duke Ellington

  8. “If you have a great band with a mediocre drummer, you have a mediocre band. If you have a mediocre band with a great drummer, you have a great band!” ~ Duke Ellington
  9. “The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.” ~ Duke Ellington
  10. “Be a number one yourself. And not a number two somebody else.” ~ Duke Ellington
  11. “The common root, of course, comes out of Africa. That’s the pulse. The African pulse. It’s all the way back from . . . the old slave chants and up through the blues, the jazz, and up through rock. And it’s all got the African pulse.” ~ Duke Ellington
  12. “You have to stop listening in categories. The music is either good or it’s bad.” ~ Duke Ellington
  13. “There are two kinds of worries – those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” ~ Duke Ellington
  14. “How can anyone expect to be understood unless he presents his thoughts with complete honesty? This situation is unfair because it asks too much of the world. In effect, we say, ‘ I don’t dare show you what I am because I don’t trust you for a minute but please love me anyway because I so need you to. And, of course, if you don’t love me anyway, you’re a dirty dog, just as I suspected, so I was right in the first place.’ Yet, every time God’s children have thrown away fear in pursuit of honesty-trying to communicate themselves, understood or not, miracles have happened.” ~ Duke Ellington
  15. “Simplicity is a most complex form” ~ Duke Ellington

  16. “Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited.” ~ Duke Ellington
  17. “Create, and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste.” ~ Duke Ellington
  18. “Create, and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste.” ~ Duke Ellington
  19. “I never had much interest in the piano until I realized that every time I played, a girl would appear on the piano bench to my left and another to my right.” ~ Duke Ellington
  20. “Music is the total reflection of beauty.” ~ Duke Ellington
  21. “Sing sweet, but put a little dirt in it.” ~ Duke Ellington

  22. “There is nothing to keeping a band together. You simply have to have a gimmick, and the gimmick I use is to pay them money!” ~ Duke Ellington
  23. “Problems are chances for us to do our best.” ~ Duke Ellington
  24. “Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous, you don’t want it.” ~ Duke Ellington
  25. “I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.” ~ Duke Ellington
  26. “Jazz today, as always in the past, is a matter of thoughtful creation, not mere unaided instinct.” ~ Duke Ellington , Duke Ellington quotes about jazz
  27. “The artist must say it without saying it.” ~ Duke Ellington
  28. “There is no art without intention.” ~ Duke Ellington

  29. “Love is indescribable and unconditional. I could tell you a thousand things that it is not, but not one that it is. Either you have it or you haven’t; there’s no proof of it.” ~ Duke Ellington
  30. “You’ve got to find a way of saying it without saying it.” ~ Duke Ellington
  31. “Tomorrow is in the wings waiting for you to sound her entrance fanfare.” ~ Duke Ellington
  32. “My mother told me I was blessed, and I have always taken her word for it. Being born of – or reincarnated from – royalty is nothing Like being blessed. Royalty is inherited from another
    human being; blessedness comes from God.” ~ Duke Ellington
  33. “The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.” ~ Duke Ellington

  34. “Everybody in Canada seemed to listen to what they enjoyed, and nobody could tell them what to like, or what was the popular, or what was the In thing. Even today, it is very hard to brainwash a Canadian.” ~ Duke Ellington
  35. “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” ~ Duke Ellington
  36. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to decide where jazz starts or where it stops, where Tin Pan Alley begins and jazz ends, or even where the borderline lies between between classical music and jazz. I feel there is no boundary line” ~ Duke Ellington
  37. “There is hardly any money interest in art, and music will be there when money is gone.” ~ Duke Ellington , Duke Ellington quotes on money
  38. “Gray skies are just clouds passing over.” ~ Duke Ellington

  39. “Roaming through the jungle of “Ohs” and “Ahs”, searching for a more agreeable noise, I live a life of primitivity with the mind of a child and an unquenchable thirst for sharps and flats.” ~ Duke Ellington
  40. “There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind … the only yardstick by which the result should be judged is simply that of how it sounds. If it sounds good it’s successful; if it doesn’t it has failed.” ~ Duke Ellington
  41. “A Satin Doll is a woman who is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside.” ~ Duke Ellington
  42. “New music? Hell, there’s been no new music since Stravinsky.” ~ Duke Ellington
  43. “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. … I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. … I don’t need time, I need a deadline. …There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. … Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one.” ~ Duke Ellington
  44. “What does music mean to you? What would you do without music?” ~ Duke Ellington

  45. “By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.” ~ Duke Ellington
  46. “If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!” ~ Duke Ellington
  47. “Selfishness can be a virtue. Selfishness is essential to survival, and without survival we cannot protect those whom we love more than ourselves.” ~ Duke Ellington Quotes
  48. “Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn’t want me to be too famous too young.” ~ Duke Ellington
  49. “Self-discipline, as a virtue or an acquired asset, can be invaluable to anyone.” ~ Duke Ellington

  50. “The Europeans who went to Africa came back with “modern’ art. What is more African than a Picasso?” ~ Duke Ellington
  51. “I began by tinkering around with some old tunes I knew. Then, just to try something different, I set to putting some music to the rhythm that I used in jerking ice-cream sodas at the Poodle Dog. I fooled around with the tune more and more until at last, lo and behold, I had completed my first piece of finished music.” ~ Duke Ellington
  52. “Yet, every time God’s children have thrown away fear in pursuit of honesty-trying to communicate themselves, understood or not, miracles have happened.” ~ Duke Ellington
  53. “Music is my mistress and she plays second fiddle to no one.” ~ Duke Ellington
  54. “People do not retire. They are retired by others.” ~ Duke Ellington

  55. “Critics have their purposes, and they’re supposed to do what they do, but sometimes they get a little carried away with what they think someone should have done, rather than concerning themselves with what they did.” ~ Duke Ellington
  56. “In music, as you develop a theme or musical idea, there are many points at which directions must be decided, and at any time I was in the throes of debate with myself, harmonically or melodically, I would turn to Billy Strayhorn. We would talk, and then the whole world would come into focus. The steady hand of his good judgment pointed to the clear way that was fitting for us. He was not, as he was often referred to by many, my alter ego. Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine.” ~ Duke Ellington
  57. “A musical profit outweighs a financial loss.” ~ Duke Ellington

  58. “It’s like an act of murder – you play with intent to commit something.” ~ Duke Ellington
  59. “I don’t believe in categories of any kind, and when you speak of problems between blacks and whites in the U.S.A. you are referring to categories again.” ~ Duke Ellington
  60. “Dancing is very important to people who play music with a beat. I think that people who don’t dance, or who never did dance, don’t really understand the beat… I know musicians who don’t and never did dance, and they have difficulty communicating.” ~ Duke Ellington
  61. “I don’t need time, I need a deadline.” ~ Duke Ellington
  62. “Every man prays in his own language.” ~ Duke Ellington
  63. “My biggest kick in music -playing or writing- is when I have a problem. Without a problem to solve, how much interest do you take in anything?” ~ Duke Ellington
  64. “Somehow I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today, he might be a jazz fan himself.” ~ Duke Ellington
  65. “Without a deadline, baby, I wouldn’t do nothing.” ~ Duke Ellington

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