who decides to play jazz for a living knows he will struggle for
the rest of his life, unless he opts for predictable and soothing
compromise. Honest jazz involves public exploration. It takes guts
to make mistakes in public, and mistakes are inherent. If there
are no mistakes, it's a mistake. In Keith Jarrett's solo improvisations
you can hear him hesitate, turn in circles for a while, struggle
to find the next idea. Bird used to start a phrase two or three
times before figuring out how to continue it. The heart and soul
of improvisation is turning mistakes into discovery. On the spot.
Now. No second draft. It can take a toll night after night in front
of an audience that just might be considering you shallow.
From 'Close Enough For Jazz', Mike Zwerin (1983)
divine air! Now is his soul ravished! Is it not strange that sheeps'
guts should hale souls out of men's bodies? Well, a horn for my
money, when all's done.
From 'Much Ado About Nothing' (Act II, Scene iii), William Shakespeare
he storms inwardly, glaring at his audience, wincing at his trumpet,
stabbing and tugging at his ear. Often his solos degenerate into
a curse blown again and again through his horn in four soft beats.
But Miles can break hearts. Without attempting the strident showmanship
of most trumpeters, he still creates a mood of terror suppressed
- a lurking and highly exciting impression that he may some day
blow his brains out playing.
Barry Farrell, writing in Time Magazine (February 28 1964)