Donny McCaslin: Feeling the Spirit
'Also, there is so much to learn from the musicians of the past. When I was thinking about my own sense of time and swing, I decided to really bear down on some of those older records and learn some solos the way those musicians were playing them. I really got into the way that Lester, Stan Getz, Wayne Shorter, and others played. Not just the notes that they were playing but the way that they played them. The vibrato, the time feel, laying back, pushing ahead, whatever, that's when I felt like I had really learned how to feel the time. Lester now, sometimes he plays stuff that's so simple if you look at it from a scholastic viewpoint or if you try to analyse what he's doing. When I went to Berklee, we would have to analyse solos but if you look at it only in a technical way it's misleading because it seems so simple. But when you listen to him play, he does so in a way that transcends the notes. This is because it's not really about the notes he's playing. It's so emotional, it's like he's a singer. The notes he plays are great, of course, just amazing, but when I listen to him it makes me realize that it isn't the notes that you play, it's how you play them. It's what you feel, it's the spirit, it's the emotion.'