The jazz community has many heroes.

Naturally, we emit a pressure on players to sound a certain way and to take after our heroes. Eventually though, every player has to trace out his/her own path.

I remember sitting down with a Bill Evans record once, dedicated to transcribing every note. I struggled because I didn’t really dig Bill Evans. After a few hours, I put it away; I was too frustrated. I learned an important lesson that day and vowed never to put my heart and soul into something I didn’t dig 100%. Otherwise, I’m succumbing to that pressure. That was a moment of clarity for me and I began tracing my path.

You will be criticized for not sounding enough like the heroes. You will alsobe criticized for sounding too much like the heroes. That’s sacred ground! How do you deal?

Ignore them. Be yourself.

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