SKF NOTE: Drummer Art Taylor’s Notes and Tones: Musician-to-Musician Interviews, which I bought when first published in 1977, remains an interesting read and source book. As time goes by, whenever I open “Notes and Tones,” I find something new, interesting, and instructive. This snippet from Mr. Taylor’s interview with Dizzy Gillespie is a case in point. Mr. Gillespie shares his wise perspective on creating a unified band.
Dizzy Gillespie: “One time a funny thing happened to me. I said to Teddy Stewart, the drummer, ‘You’re supposed to inspire the soloist.’ He said, ‘Have you ever thought that the soloist is supposed to inspire me?’ I didn’t say nothing else. It’s true, we’re all supposed to inspire each other to great heights.
“If you have a group, the group is like a painting, a masterpiece. Each one of the instruments represents a specific color, and the diversity of the colors makes it beautiful. You’ve got five pieces, and none of them sounds alike, but they must have unity.
“So you take red, orange, blue, green or purple: Each color in its diversity is supposed to be beautiful. Each one has a role, and when one of the colors overlaps onto another, you have chaos. Therefore, each one should be thinking in terms of the whole, in terms of the beautification of the diversity of the instruments.
“Paintings don’t clash, like a purple going over into another color. They stay what they are, but it’s the whole picture that makes for the togetherness. Unity.”
Source: Art Taylor, Notes and Tones: Musician-to-Musician Interviews (1977)