“You, my audience, are all a bunch of poppaloppers. A bunch of tumbling weeds, tumbling ’round, running from your subconscious unconscious minds…. Minds? Minds that won’t let you stop to listen to a word of artistic meaningful truth…. So you come to me, you sit in the front row, as noisy as can be. I listen to your millions of conversations, sometimes pulling them all up together and writing a symphony. But you never hear that symphony… You haven’t been told before that you’re phonies. You’re here because jazz is popular, jazz has publicity and you like to associate yourself with this sort of thing. But it doesn’t make you a connoisseur of the art because you follow it around. You’re dilettantes of style. A blind man can go to an exhibition of Picasso and Kline and not even see what works. And comment behind dark glasses. Wow! They’re the swingingest painters ever, crazy! Well, so can you. You’ve got your dark glasses and clogged-up ears…. You become the object you came to see, and you think you’re important and digging jazz when all the time all you’re doing is digging a blind, deaf scene that has nothing to do with any kind of music at all.”
Charles Mingus addressing the audience at the Five Spot in NYC.