Good jazz is when the leader jumps on the piano, waves his arms, and yells. Fine jazz is when a tenorman lifts his foot in the air. Great jazz is when he heaves a piercing note for 32 bars and collapses on his hands and knees. A pure genius of jazz is manifested when he and the rest of the orchestra run around the room while the rhythm section grimaces and dances around their instruments.
Jazz to Mingus wasn't music. The music of great jazz players was a byproduct of their genius, their knowledge of the rhythm, their feel of the beat. Jazz was a feeling expressed through spontaneous composition. You couldn't capture real jazz on paper, there was no emotion in ink. The heart of jazz was with the musician, giving the music meaning and ad-libbing himself to you during solos. It wasn't the music...it was what you did with it.
...anything Milhaud has done in classical music, McPherson and Bird, alone, do with ease as well as human warmth and beauty.
-Let My Children Hear Music
Like they say, It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing...