[Lee Morgan] was the only young cat that scared me when he played. He had so much fire and natural feeling. I had more technique, but he had that feeling. People seemed to like him more than they like me at the beginning.
Don't make the mistakes I made of not taking care of myself. Please, keeps your chops cool and don't overblow. If you are going to play hard, be sure to warm up. I'd get carried away trying to stay right with the momentum [of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers]. I used to try and play like Coltrane and solo for 30 or 40 choruses. It all caught up with me.
I used to try to play like [Miles Davis], and Miles caught me copying him one night at Birdland. He said, 'Hey man, why don't you play some of your own stuff.' So, I finally did, because I had copied all his solos.
Jazz isn't like pop, where you sell millions of records with a hit. Your spirit and soul aren't important in pop music. But jazz is like classical music. If people like you, they'll remember you and you'll last forever.
Man, you'd be surprised how much I'm learning - not only about myself, but about the musicians who came before me. You don't realize at first when you listen to Armstrong's records how great this man was and how hard that Hot Five music was to play. After the experience of reading and playing those parts, I have an even greater respect for Louis Armstrong than before
A very few musicians passed across all decades. In terms of trumpet playing, Louis Armstrong does it of course but Sweets [Edison] is right up there too. He is unique, in every sense of the term.
When I got started in New York, it wasn't like it is now. If you were different from Miles and Dizzy, it was very difficult to make gigs and make money with your own style.
Well, my sister played trumpet. Can you imagine having a sister blowing the trumpet around the house, Fred? And my brother, he played piano. Everybody was playing some kind of music, so it was natural for me to get into it.
We all kind of grew up together with Art Blakey because we all were young and he gave us a chance to write. We had to write something that was good and to sit up with a great guy like Art Blakey and watch him.
That was the biggest thrill, going over to these guy's houses and having them want me to practice with them and they would show me a lot of stuff, which was really advanced stuff to me at my age.
I'm going to Yoshi's. I'm taking a few gigs. I'm playing. I'm not going to play all the time. I'm going to take it easy and take it slow and warm up so I can come back.
I had heard Ornette a couple of times, but I didn't really know where he was coming from until we started the record and it was beautiful, Fred. It opened up my mind.
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