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Right away, you felt the architecture of his music was very strong, so whatever you were going to put on top adornments or improvising you really had to know the material.
The sad part is the emotional toll it's taken over the years.
Circumstances can be very important. Find the right people to work with.
I've always been extremely lucky in playing with great people who knew much more than I did. That's how I got from there to here.
If you're trying to invent something new, you're going to reach a lot of discouraging points, and most people give up.
Jazz is people's music, a collectivity.
People don't want to suffer. They want to sound good immediately, and this is one of the biggest problems in the world.
Some people really want to play Mozart and be just performers. I was more interested in invention.
The more original something is, the more of a threat it seems until the people catch up with it. That happened with Thelonious Monk. It happened with anybody who is really original.
There is an awful lot of what I call recreational jazz going on, where people go out and learn a particular language or style and become real sharks on somebody else's language.
When I first started playing music in 1955, there was just a small body of people that knew it. It was a very esoteric type of thing.
I think it is in collaboration that the nature of art is revealed.
I started in New Orleans music and played all through the history of jazz.
I still love the whole history of jazz. The old things sound better than ever.