I like to listed to the adventurous guys - the Coltranes, Miles Davis, the guys who just let it loose.
When I have to compete with John Coltrane and Miles Davis and Louie Armstrong on iTunes, which I'm doing now, that's a problem. That means that jazz is not being heard by younger audiences.
I remember listening to Miles Davis in the car with my dad. I had just done my Grade 5 piano exam, and I was quite cocky. I said, 'It sounds like he's played the wrong note there.' I remember the look of horror on my dad's face, and thinking, 'Wow, I have to figure out why that is not acceptable.'
Music is my only guide. I don't care if people pigeonhole me. Miles Davis is my hero. He covered Cindy Lauper and Michael Jackson, and he didn't give a hoot about what the purists said.
Coltrane was moving out of jazz into something else. And certainly Miles Davis was doing the same thing.
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.
No one told Miles Davis or BB King to pack it in. John Lee Hooker played literally up to the day he died. Why should pop musicians be any different?
I think it comes from really liking literary forms. Poetry is very beautiful, but the space on the page can be as affecting as where the text is. Like when Miles Davis doesn't play, it has a poignancy to it.
Miles Davis was a master. In every phase of his career, he understood that this music was a tribute to the African muse.
One of the things that I loved about listening to Miles Davis is that Miles always had an instinct for which musicians were great for what situations. He could always pick a band, and that was the thing that separated him from everybody else.