The 10 Best Miles Davis Quotes

Miles Davis was a jazz legend who pushed the boundaries of jazz, and his quotes offer a glimpse into his creative mindset. Some of his quotes capture his philosophy on music, creativity, and life.

From the importance of making mistakes to the role of jazz in the regime of change, these quotes provide insight into the mind of one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.

Whether you’re a jazz fan or simply someone who appreciates an artist’s role in the music industry and his work, these 10 perceptive quotes from Miles Davis will motivate you to bring light and understanding into the reader’s soul.

  1. “If you’re not making a mistake, it’s a mistake.”
  2. “Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.”
  3. “Do not fear mistakes – there are none.”
  4. “Always look ahead, but never look back.”
  5. “I never thought that the music called “jazz” was ever meant to reach just a small group of people, or become a museum thing locked under glass like all the other dead things that were once considered artistic.”
  6. “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.”
  7. “If you understood everything I say, you’d be me!”
  8. “Jazz is the big brother of Revolution. Revolution follows it around.”
  9. “First you imitate, then you innovate.”
  10. “I always listen to what I can leave out.”


Quotes from Miles Davis demonstrate taking risks and making mistakes in order to grow as a person, and to always strive to play like yourself. He also emphasizes the importance of looking ahead and not dwelling on the past.

Other than that, his devotion to creativity and being true to himself served him well in his craft. With his fascinating quotes, he will continue to inspire musicians, artists, and anyone who reads them.

Image Source:

By derivative work: — Malik Shabazz (talk • contribs) – Miles Davis by Palumbo.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0,
By Mallory1180 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
By Dr Jean Fortunet – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,