Marc Myers’ JazzWax wraps up a four-part interview with Denny Zeitlin, packed with good questions, and answers that give insights into an intriguing man. For decades, Zeitlin has maintained parallel careers as a jazz pianist and a practicing psychiatrist. Myers asked him how empathy plays a role in both pursuits.
When I’m doing my most effective work as a musician playing with other musicians, I try to lose that positional sense of self so I can enter their musical world and merge with what they’re doing. With a patient in my office, I do my most effective work when I’m able to enter their psychological life so deeply that I can really seem to feel what it is that he or she is feeling. Yet in both cases, there’s a part of me that is still available, that is able to pull back and observe the process that both of us are in.