[Dixielandjazz] Yogi B. on Jazz

Richard Broadie rbroadie at dc.rr.com
Wed Sep 7 14:54:56 PDT 2005

This just came in.  Thought you'd enjoy it.   Dick

Interviewer: "Can you explain jazz?" 
Yogi: "I can't, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. 
The other half is the part people play while others are playing
something they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you
play the wrong part, it's right. If you play the right part, it might be
right if you play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it's
Interviewer: "I don't understand." 
Yogi: "Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can't understand 
it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it." 
Interviewer: "Do you understand it?" 
Yogi: "No. That's why I can explain it. If I understood it, I 
wouldn't know anything about it." 
Interviewer: "Are there any great jazz players alive today?" 
Yogi: "No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except 
for the ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that
the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are
dead. Some would kill for it." 
Interviewer: "What is syncopation?" 
Yogi: "That's when the note that you should hear now happens either 
before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don't hear notes when they
happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of
music can be jazz, but only if they're the same as something different
from those other kinds." 
Interviewer: "Now I really don't understand." 
Yogi: "I haven't taught you enough for you to not understand jazz 
that well."

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