Picking Notes out of Thin Air?
(A COLLECTION OF QUOTES POSSIBLY USEFUL TO THE STUDENT LEARNING TO PLAY JAZZ)
It all goes from imitation to assimilation to innovation. You move from the imitation stage to the assimilation stage when you take little bits of things from different people and weld them into an identifiable style - creating your own style. Once you've created your sound and you have a good sense of the history of the music, then you think of where the music hasn't gone and where it can go - and that's innovation. Walter Bishop Jr.
To understand Tony Williams, you ought to know Philly Joe Jones and Sid Catlett. It's the same with drummers as with other instrumentalists. Unless you understand James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, you don't really understand Ahmad Jamal or Bud Powell, or Herbie Hancock. Kenny Washington
If you hear something intriguing in somebody else's solo, the main thing is to find out how it works, to find out what's intriguing about it, and then to apply it differently in your own way. Benny Bailey
Without directly copying his melodic line, I tried to get the feeling of the line, the phrasing, which allowed me to understand how Trane was talking when he played. What I wanted was the form, the basket that he was using, but the contents I wanted to fill myself. I knew that I had something to say, and I wanted to deal with that. So what I copied was the way John constructed his phrases and their rhythmical base, the stems without the notes, and I put my own notes and harmony - the things I thought about - on top of it. Arthur Rhames
Even if I didn't sound as good as the people I copied when I made up my own things, at least I was starting to express myself, and that was the most satisfying thing for me at that point.
You hear another guy play and say to yourself, "Man, listen to that! I wish I could play that good." then you hear somebody else and you say the same thing. Then comes a time when you realize that the first guy can't do what the second guy can and the second guy can't do what the first guy can. That makes you feel a little better when you know that. Well, then, when you come to find out you can do things both of them other guys can't do, you discover that ain't got anything to do with who's good and who isn't. It's just that everybody puts his own personal style to the music. Of course, if he doesn't, then he just ain't a musician. Eubie Blake
Please be encouraged to send in further quotes!