When you begin to teach jazz, the most dangerous thing is that you tend to teach style…I had eleven piano students, and I would say eight of them didn’t even want to know about chords or anything – they didn’t even want to do anything that anybody had ever done, because they didn’t want to be imitators. Well, of course, this is pretty naive…but nevertheless it does bring to light the fact that if you’re going to try to teach jazz…you must abstract the principles of music which have nothing to do with style, and this is exceedingly difficult. So there, the teaching of jazz is a very touchy point. It ends up where the jazz player, ultimately, if he’s going to be a serious jazz player, teaches himself.
Jazz is like writing. It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.