"Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine."
"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."
"Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations."
Excerpt from The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961
"We are living in the era of premeditation and the perfect crime. Our criminals are no longer helpless children who could plead love as their excuse. On the contrary, they are adults and they have the perfect alibi: philosophy, which can be used for any purpose — even for transforming murderers into judges."
Sunny, my friend, my hero, the person who made Brooklyn first feel like home. A supporter, a love, a great deal of laughter. A beauty. A charmer. A light that shines brighter than any other. Sunny. Sunshine... I will miss you forever and always.
"I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were."
"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."
"Look, you can't stop the years from passing by. There comes a time when changes have to be made. Someone younger and stronger comes along to fill your shoes and a person has to gracefully step aside. Well, I'm not willing to do that."
"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
"There's a change in the wind and a split in the road. You can do what's right or you can do what you are told. And the prize of the victory will belong to the bold. Yes, these are the days of decision."
"Life's splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come."
"Nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see each other in life. Vanity, fear, desire, competition — all such distortions within our own egos — condition our vision of those in relation to us. Add to those distortions to our own egos, the corresponding distortions in the egos of others, and you see how cloudy the glass must become through which we look at each other. That's how it is in all living relationships except when there is that rare case of two people who love intensely enough to burn through all those layers of opacity and see each other's naked hearts."
From the Duke Reid Group to the Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, from ghetto studios to the stage of Top Of The Pops, from the heat of Kingston to the less inspiring climate of suburban London, it's been a long musical and geographical journey for Emmanuel "Rico" Rodriguez. During his 50+ year musical odyssey, one thing remained constant: Rico's trombone sound — rugged, eloquent, uncompromising and rarely more than two steps from the blues.
Text adapted from the liner-notes to Trombone Man (Trojan Records, 2005)
"If a person measures his spiritual fulfillment in terms of cosmic visions, surpassing peace of mind, or ecstasy, then he is not likely to know much spiritual fulfillment. If, however, he measures it in terms of enjoying a sunrise, being warmed by a child's smile, or being able to help someone have a better day, then he is likely to know much spiritual fulfillment."
"When I was very young, I admired hardened criminals locked behind prison doors; I visited inns and taverns they frequented; with their eyes, I saw the blue sky and the blossoming work of the fields; I tracked their scent through cities. They were more powerful than saints, more prudent than explorers — and they, they alone, were witnesses to glory and reason!"