When you have 13 horns, and one is soloing, you have 12 people to play the richest, fullest chord you could ever imagine behind that solo.
One performer whose band played my music better than I could myself was Art Farmer. He recorded 'Sing Me Softly of the Blues' and 'Ad Infinitum'.
I just got to hear every note. After I left Birdland, I started working at the Jazz Gallery. In the end, I still couldn't play, but I knew how to listen. I was probably the world's best listener.
There are times when what's happening in rock is the best music in the world, and there are times when there is nothing worthwhile at all.
I got started when I was 3 years old because my father was a music teacher and my lessons were free. Instead of learning to walk, you learn to play the piano.
Listening is more important than anything else because that's what music is. Somebody is playing something and you're receiving it. It is sending and receiving.
When you are studying jazz, the best thing to do is listen to records or listen to live music. It isn't as though you go to a teacher. You just listen as much as you can and absorb everything.
Living composers writing for big band are very few and far between. There are not a lot of them, and I have a talent for doing it. I am zeroing in on what I do best.
I don't enjoy traveling in America. I don't like the food, the cars. It is not exotic enough. It all tastes a bit like airline food.
When Ronald Reagan was elected I was on a bus traveling with a band in France. I wrote a little arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner in a minor key.
I still prefer the bebop of the '40s. The very stuff I started out with is still the best to me. I have come full circle.