These are all musicians I knew and worked with, and all of them were mentors who were very inspirational to me. I didn’t know who any of them were until I got to New York in 1976. They’re all gone now, but they opened me up and humbled me, and gave me a new perspective on how people have sacrificed their lives for the music. They weren’t small figures—everyone on the scene knew them—but their influence hasn’t passed through to the average jazz student. Who knows why? It’s the luck of the draw. That’s just the way life is.
Tommy Turrentine (Time, 1960)
I like his mastery of the postbop language and the sophistication of how he handled chords; he was very ingenious on the trumpet. I ran into him down at Barry Harris’ club on Eighth Avenue [the Jazz Cultural Theater]. A lot of the cats used to hang out down there. I heard him play and talked to him and got a lot of wisdom from him.