Many jazz musicians affect a misunderstood-genius air when they play, which alienates the audience and breaks down the communications of the music. A musician’s responsibility is to get as much of his art across as possible. Musicians used to be kept when only the rich could afford art, but now practically everyone can afford radios, stereo equipment, concert tickets, etc. A musician must learn to communicate to survive.
When I was studying at Berklee, I got the feeling I couldn’t play the [guitar] at all, because I could not use my own things as they didn’t fit any set pattern. When I joined [Chico Hamilton], he helped me immensely to develop my own style. He never forced me in any set way. At all times, he encouraged me to be myself on the instrument.
People behind the Iron curtain have such an incredible image of America and jazz. I expected to find a Gerry Mulligan or Miles Davis on every corner…I almost expected a Shorty Rogers to deliver the milk, a Bud Shank to be the mailman.