Yogi Berra Explains Jazz

28 07 2008

This was passed to me today by my friend Nick DiMinno of Wildvine Music. It doesn’t have anything to do with consumer packaged goods, interactive marketing, social media, SEO, SEM, etc. That’s why it has everything to do with it.

When it’s done right, marketing, like jazz, defies explanation. As Thelonious Monk once said, “The only cats worth anything are the cats who take chances. Sometimes I play things I never heard myself.”

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, its 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 wrong.

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.

UPDATE: On a more serious note, I just read that a group is raising funds to restore John Coltrane’s former home in Dix Hills, Long Island. Trane and his family moved into the house in the summer of 1964, and it’s where he was inspired to create his most famous work, A Love Supreme.

This is hallowed ground for jazz fans. You can learn more and make donations here.