Think of your favorite jazz musician, and “hear” the way they play. If it’s Miles Davis, you may be hearing the plaintive sounds of his muted trumpet playing a ballad. Or, if it’s Keith Emerson, you may be imagining fast flourishes in his unique classical-rock style. Or maybe you’re grooving to the sounds of Herbie Hancock.
Whatever it is, your favorite musician is probably going way to the edges. By this, I mean that they’re playing really slow, or really bluesy, or really fast, or really intense, or really melodic, or really quietly.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that most jazz musicians are kind of “in the middle.” Sure, they sound good, but there’s nothing really memorable of emotionally touching about their playing. It’s kind of “melodic but kind of fast and trying to be hip at the same time.”
If we want to be great, however, we’ll put all that aside and go way to the edges. If you want to play something slow, go w-a-a-a-a-y slow. Or fast. Or bluesy. Or tenderly. Or playfully. Or intense, like John Coltrane.
Go to the edges. Way to the edges. Just like your musical heroes.
Yes, you’re capable of this, and it’s easy, once you decide to do it.
Good luck, and “let the music flow!”
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