In Braille you write your flat sign first and then your note.
– George Shearing
I studied with a blind teacher from about 5 until I was 16, at two different schools. From the age of 12 until 16, I was in a boarding school-which, I believe, at that time was compulsory for blind children.
Perfect retention. I don’t think I could do that-I’ve never disciplined myself to do it. I suppose a lot of it is a question of discipline. Which improvisation is not.
You know, when you’ve established a certain thing, what can you do? You’re stuck with it.
When Hank Jones had his night off, I would get somebody to take my place as intermission pianist and I’d play the show with Ella, so I would get a chance to play with Ray Brown and Charlie Smith as well.
The way it works: The orchestra plays a few selections of its own and I terminate the first part of the programme on piano, usually with a movement from a Mozart concerto.
I think it was Duke Ellington who once said that we’re always most pleased with our current record. I mean, you have to assume that you learn from one, and you do something better next time.
All my musical foundations go back to the age of 3. My family tell me that I used to listen to the old crystal set, then go to the piano and pick out the tune that I just heard.
I don’t think you can contrive any sound.
I haven’t written an awful lot recently, but I think I probably will start again very shortly. Being so much on the road, when you have a couple of weeks off, you’re likely to avoid sitting at the piano, and taping, and giving yourself more work to do.
Can anybody be given a great degree of creativity? No. They can be given the equipment to develop it-if they have it in them in the first place.
I don’t like freedom jazz – I think it’s void of roots and void of foundation.
We’re travelling for about nine-and-a-half months a year.
I think in certain areas the demand is greater than it has ever been, and my business is better than it’s been in 30 years. The music business is so precarious, as you know-you’ve got to make it while you can make it, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Teddy Wilson, I think, said a little while ago that it’s much easier to come in and play whatever comes into your mind, without obeying any of the laws of bass line and harmony and so on.
Having a set, popular formula does inhibit you.
My affiliation with England is borne out by the fact that I do come back for periodic visits.
I was born in London in 1919. I first went to America in 1946 for a three-month holiday. Then I came back, worked here for almost a year sold up my home and went back on immigration in 1947.