I have always seen Jazz as innovative.
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I have a nice car, a Mercedes. And then I have an old El Camino truck that I’m crazy about. I like to get in that truck and go up in the hills near where I live, in Vegas, and take my camera. That, to me, is Heaven, being out in nature, taking pictures of the wildlife.
If a player is pushing their ability, a certain amount of failure is inevitable. Maybe even desirable.
I always liked the steel guitar. I also love the guys that play the bottleneck. But I could never do it; I never made it do what I want. So every time I would pick up the guitar, I d shake my hand and trill it a bit. For some strange reason my ears would say to me that sounds similar to what those guys were doing. I can’t pick up the guitar now without doing it. So that’s how I got into making my sound. It was nothing pretty. Just trying to please myself. I heard that sound.
I decided that I would be one of the biggest new names; and I actually had some little fancy business cards printed up to announce it, ‘Count Basie. Beware, the Count is Here.
If T-Bone Walker had been a woman, I would have asked him to marry me. I’d never heard anything like that before: single-string blues played on an electric guitar.
The violin, the saxophone, the trumpet: Each makes a very different sound but the very same notes. That’s pretty heavy, you know ? Imagine how many different races make up the human race. I’m called colored, you’re called white, he’s called something else. We still got an asshole and a mouth. Pardon me.
You want the listener to find the song on their own, give too much away and it takes away from the imagination.
I would sit on the street corners in my hometown of Indianola, Mississippi, and I would play. And, generally, I would start playing gospel songs. People would come by on the street – you live in Time Square, you know how they do it – they would bunch up. And they would always compliment me on gospel tunes, but they would tip me when I played blues.