Connie Crothers Speaks

Going through an old notepad today, I found some great quotes from pianist Connie Crothers that I had scribbled down during her Harlem Speaks interview with journalist Ted Pankin at The Jazz Museum in Harlem last January. I didn’t know a whole lot about Crothers before this, but after the exhaustive two-hour conversation and Q&A session with the knowledgeable audience, I felt like I had known her and her boundless music for years. The Jazz Museum in Harlem is a national treasure and the bi-weekly, free Harlem Speaks series is adding immeasurably to the oral history of jazz.

On jazz inflection: “Every note is unique. Each is an individual being.”

“This music has no boundaries. It is alive for all time. It’s the expression of unbounded human life.”

Paraphrasing her mentor Lennie Tristano’s philosophy: “Jazz is not a style. It’s a feeling.”

“This music is sociable. When we play together, we talk.”

“I don’t separate the physical from the feeling.”

“Our music in not shutting down! In fact, it’s expanding.”

“I predict a jazz renaissance.”

On improvisation: “Rather than stretching out from the changes, you stretch out from the melody.”

And, my favorite: “I see jazz as the immune system of humanity.”

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