I would go to the library and borrow scores by all those great composers, like Stravinsky, Alban Berg, Prokofiev. I wanted to see what was going on in all of music. Knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery, and I just couldn’t believe someone could be that close to freedom and not take advantage of it.
It was because of Bill [Evans]‘s influence, I think, that I always had classical music on around the house. It was so soothing to think and work by. I mean people would come by and expect to hear a lot of jazz on the box, but I wasn’t into that at the time and a lot of people were shocked to hear me listening to classical music all the time, you know, Stravinsky, Arturo Michelangeli, Rachmaninoff, Isaac Stern.
I don’t like to hear someone put down dixieland. Those people who say there’s no music but bop are just stupid; it shows how much they don’t know.
You cant play nothing on modern trumpet that doesn’t come from him, (Louis Armstrong) not even modern shit. I can’t even remember a time when he sounded bad playing the trumpet. Never. Not even one time. He had great feeling up in his playing and he always played on the beat. I just loved the way he played and sang
Photo © Jamie Parslow, 1970