A wise man practices slowly; but a wiser man practices even slower.
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A chimpanzee could learn what I do physically, but it goes way beyond that. When you play, you play life.
The main thing is to be satisfied with your work yourself. It’s useless to have an audience happy if you are not happy.
You not only have to know your own instrument, you must know the others and how to back them up at all times. That’s jazz.
I never stop being amazed by all the different ways of playing the guitar and making it deliver a message.
Jimmy (Wakely) told me, I don’t want you to sound so much like Dinah Washington.’ So, I thought, How can I get around this?’ And one of the people I really dug was Patti Page. So I thought, Oh, I’m going to sound like her.’ I actually did with a couple curly-cues thrown in for effect, but, that’s how I started getting away from the predominant Dinah influence, and getting my own style together.
You know the actor John Garfield? In one movie he walked up to this train station, the ticket booth, and the guy says, ‘Yes, where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I want a ticket to nowhere.’ I thought: that’s it. The freedom to do that. I want a ticket to nowhere.
Jazz is the big brother of the blues. If a guy’s playing blues like we play, he’s in high school. When he starts playing jazz it’s like going on to college, to a school of higher learning.