Someone once told me, "If you aren't making any mistakes, then you probably aren't truly improvising". That someone was Dave Liebman.
When I was 14 my dad took me to my first jazz festival in Port Townsend and I spent all night listening to Jiggs Whigham at The Elk's Club -- I remember he played "Wave" and "All The Things You Are", and I've been subconsciously trying to emulate those performances ever since.
When I’m playing well it feels like the music is flowing through me and I'm just listening to it with everyone else, like a medium possessed by a spirit at a seance.
Practicing makes me relax -- it is the "yin" to playing's "yang".
My parents were both brought up in houses filled with music -- I don't think I'd be a musician today without them having created a household like that for me growing up.
Fear is just another negative, crippling feeling that I don't have time for anymore.
The piece of music that always resonates with me is Bach's Goldberg Variations. My dad played me his album of Glenn Gould performing them when I was about ten -- it might have been the first time I heard true joy and life in the sound of music.
Some of my best ideas come to me after watching a movie or reading some good fiction. I love borrowing practical techniques from other forms of art, but I also love finding inspiration in great stories and storytelling.
People ask me, "How do you compose?" The most honest answer I can give always starts with, "It depends on the day."
When I look at where I’m at right now I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be, and I couldn't be happier.
Improvisation is what drew me to jazz music -- the idea that you could compose while playing was too irresistible for my brain.
I’m happy whenever I’m listening to Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, J.J. Johnson, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Parker, Branford Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Kirkland, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, sports radio (710 ESPN), classic Rock... we'll be here all day at this rate.
A sense of humor is important because while there are many great times in the life a musician, there are some hard times, too.
I chose the trombone because there was only one other kid playing it in my Beginning Band class -- "We need more trombones!" -- I'd already spent a semester learning trumpet, and my uncle had one I could use, so I switched.
Change is inevitable you just have decide how you are going to let it affect you.
In the big scheme of things, what really matters is family. I don't know where I'd be without mine -- probably crazy or dead.