Conversationally, he was most engaging and charismatic – a baby-faced authentic New York character who drew me into what became an ongoing sphere of influence, within a few seconds.
Less than a year later when I began playing with Betty Carter, this was something she addressed to me – being able to put aside all else that’s on your mind during a show and to simply serve the music. Learning to tap into that place, and the self-observation entailed, is a lifelong waking meditation for a performing artist.
“You sound good, I heard you playing that ‘One Finger Snap’. You know that the melody you’re playing after the first four bars was mine, right? Herbie wrote out the first four bars of the melody and after that, he just had the chords on my part and told me to play my own melody. What you’re playing is what I played on the record, but I just came up with it that one time. Now they have it written that way in the fake-books, hahaha!”