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MEDIUM AND MUSE ~ DM on Technique 


For the serious jazz artist, technique and creativity are both necessary. They are medium and muse.

They're like your left foot and your right foot: you need both to get anywhere.

Technical mastery devoid of inspiration is bunk, and an artistic vision without the skill to express it is a tragedy.

I work on technical drills and etudes when I practice, but when I perform I endeavor to forget technique and play from the heart.

NEGATIVE SPACE ~ DM on Improvisation 



I'm working on eliminating nonsense phrases from my improvisations -- the musical equivalent of "like," "ya know" and "umm."

There are certain cliches that I tend to reflexively insert when grasping for the next idea. I'm training myself to embrace more negative space during those searching moments --  to simply be still and listen, to just pay attention, rather than compulsively fill the space.

LIKE A SINGER ~ DM on Phrasing 



I try to phrase like a singer, so I listen to a lot of vocalists, especially Ella Fitzgerald. And because I favor a melodic, lyrical approach to improvisation, most of the jazz instrumentalists I listen to are also from that tradition -- people like Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Paul Desmond, Chet Baker, Art Farmer and Ben Webster.
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