Excerpt from the interview, Paul Horn: Music and Time
PH: Exactly. Well he was my main teacher, good fortune for me, I had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with Miles, and we became close friends. And every time he came out to Los Angeles and played with his band, whatever band that was at the time, his great band with John Coltrane and Miles, we’d hang out a lot and I was very influenced by him. In many ways, as a person and as a musician, and he would always talk about space.
Anytime we’d go into some other club to listen for some other player, that I was impressed with, I’d say, “What do you think of that, Miles?” because the guy had a great technique and he was executing his ideas well and Miles was not impressed, he said, “He’s playing too many notes. “ That’s all he’d say. “Too many notes, too many notes.” Then it got me to think that, most musicians think that way. You know if you have a lot of technique and you work years and years and years to develop your technique, it’s pretty hard not to use it. So the challenge is- less is more.
And that’s a sign of maturity. I don’t think that when you’re very young that you’re ready for that yet because you’ve got too much energy. You’re like an athlete, you can’t tell an athlete to run slow. But when you’re playing an instrument, a musical instrument, it definitely is muscular as well as other factors, so it’s hard when you want to slow down, you want to move fast. You’ve worked hard on your technique to play a lot of notes, but all you’re doing is playing a lot of notes.
The challenge is to play the right note, in the right place, in the right sequence of notes and leave space around it so it can breathe. And the day came when that really sunk in, and I think it’s very important.
And if you had that, if you had that in mind, when you listen to records now or any live performance, you become very aware of the person that is performing and if that person is using space at all, and if so, is it used well? It’s a very important part of the music I think.
Link here for the full interview: http://www.snapshotsfoundation.com/paul-horn-interview