A wise man practices slowly; but a wiser man practices even slower.
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Too many jazz pianists limit themselves to a personal style, a trademark, so to speak. They confine themselves to one type of playing. I believe in using the entire piano as a single instrument capable of expressing every possible musical idea. I have no one style. I play as I feel.
Wes Montgomery played impossible things on the guitar because it was never pointed out to him that they were impossible.
Most jazz players work out their solos, at least to the extent that they have a very specific vocabulary.
Jazz is a spectacularly accurate model of democracy and a look into our redemptive future possibilities.
Musicians have a really big part to play in spreading messages because they’re able to reach a large portion of people on an emotional level. Artists reach people at their heart; it’s the only time we meet in one place and put our differences aside. When you’re in a forum listening to music, all you feel in that moment is love and the understanding.
I asked my mother could I have an instrument. She said, ‘Well if you go out and save your money.’ So I went and got – I made me a shine box. I went out and started shining shoes, and I’d bring whatever I made.
In Jazz, improvisation isn’t a matter of just making any ol’ thing up. Jazz, like any language, has its own grammer and vocabulary. There’s no right or wrong, just some choices that are better than others.
In fifteen seconds the difference between composition and improvisation is that in composition you have all the time you want to decide what to say in fifteen seconds, while in improvisation you have fifteen seconds.
I simply want to reach a level where I will never cease to make progress…so that, even on the bad evenings, I may never be bad enough to despair.
I’m too busy playing. When I’m playing I don’t pay attention to who’s listening. When I was listening I listened to symphony orchestras, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Stravinsky. You don’t listen to one instrument; you listen to music.
Back in college, when I got kicked out of school, I was still in school, I’d just written the song that got me my record deal. If I hadn’t gotten kicked out of school I wouldn’t be where I am now. Three months after that, I got my record deal and the rest is history.
Our music is generally the music I would play way back when I was in the record business. So I’ll play World Waiting For The Sunrise and How High The Moon, maybe Over The Rainbow, some standards. But it depends upon the artist that comes up – if people like a certain kind of music, I will focus the show that way. Whoever walks up on to the stage is the star – he is the picture, we are the frame. The frame is there to make the star look better – let’s make this fellow the best he’s ever going to be.