There is no such thing as art, " he said. "There is only this painting, this piece of music, that sculpture. And it either resonates with you or it doesn't." He paused for a moment and then added, "There is no such thing as art, there are only works."... In those two moments, Antonioni taught me something profound.
I got a chance to work with Miles Davis, and that changed everything for me, 'cause Miles really encouraged all his musicians to reach beyond what they know, go into unknown territory and explore. It's made a difference to me and the decisions that I've made over the years about how to approach a project in this music.
It might be something as simple as saying the right word to the right person at the right time-and that could change the course of history. You never really know. But the whole thing is to work at the process of being in sync with the universe, so that everything will align at the proper time so that you can deliver that which is your life mission. And that's why we're here as individuals. And then there's our contribution to the collective. It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
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I never dreamed I would be a Goodwill Ambassador, and for UNESCO. Perfect organization. It is apolitical and it's about education, science and culture. I mean that is what I live. That is what UNESCO is really about; it's all about bringing human beings together with one common goal, which is to move human kind forward.
I don't think there are any pure Africans of the African Americans, but the African part of our history was pretty much taken away from us during slavery, so the 60s gave us a chance, because of the civil rights movement, to kind of re-examine and make some sort of formal connection to our African-ness.
Being vulnerable is allowing yourself to trust. That's hard for a lot of people to do. They feel a lot more secure if they kind of put walls around themselves. Then they don't have to trust anybody but themselves. But to allow you to trust not only yourself but trust others means - is what's required to be vulnerable, and to have that kind of trust takes courage.
Jazz is really about the human experience. It's about the ability of human beings to take the worst of circumstances and struggles and turn it into something creative and constructive. That's something that's built into the fiber of every human being. And I think that's why people can respond to it. They feel the freedom in it. And the attributes of jazz are also admirable. It's about dialogue. It's about sharing. And teamwork. It's in the moment, and it's nonjudgmental.
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I have to care and I have to be honest and have the courage to be vulnerable. If that happens, then that's the best I can do. To just be a puppet for the audience is not very courageous. Just to do whatever they say they want - because a lot of times people will hear something new that they hadn't heard before and get turned on by a new experience and will want to hear more of that.
Back in the day for me was a great time in my life - I was in my 20s. Most people refer to their experiences in their twenties as being a highlight in their life. It's a period of time where you often develop your own way, your own sound, your own identity, and that happened with me, when I was with a great teacher - Miles Davis.
The strongest thing that any human being has going is their own integrity and their own heart. As soon as you start veering away from that, the solidity that you need in order to be able to stand up for what you believe in and deliver what's really inside, it's just not going to be there.