“The one thing you always have to have in your playing is hope. When you lose hope and you think to yourself, ‘ugh, what am I going to do with this?’ you’re not going to do anything …because you’ve already projected yourself, and I [the listener] have heard it and can tell you’re not committed…”
[Talking to a keyboard player about his lead into a break:] “You thought to yourself ‘I should have left a space.’ I could feel you thinking that. But it’s too late; now you’re in that space. The beauty of jazz is that we’re in that moment. What happens in that moment is it’s a moment of absolute clarity because you’re there now. When we jump off a building we can’t jump back up. We’re either gonna fly or grab something. Okay, grab something or fly.
[On silence:] “The one thing I want you to notice is after an event, wait. Why do you wait? Because the emotion is in the silence. I come over to you and I talk to you; I want to tell you something. I put my hand on you, I say, ‘Man, that was a beautiful phrase you played.’ When I stop talking to you then you feel the emotion of it and that’s when you assess how you gonna accept what I tell you. In that moment you feel something, but if I [talk] past that moment, if I say ‘I love the way you play [and] you know, you ought to think about that reed you’re using,’ I’ve lost something.”