I had the pleasure of being a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet for 2 years.  Benny was known to say “it’s not what you play that matters it is what you leave out”.  True enough and let me give an example of this on another subject regarding design.  If you look in the window of a high end store like Cartier or Tiffany’s you might see a diamond all by itself with lots of space around it.  Look in the window of a low end discount store and you will see clutter.  The space around the diamond in the high end store makes the diamond look very important which it is and valuable elevating the quality.  Same with music and improvization as space is so important.  I remember my first gig when I was very young with jazz great Zoot Sims.  I played a very exciting solo with a lot of notes and emotion and even got a huge ovation from the audience.  After I was done with my solo Zoot left some space before he came in and played one note.  He placed that note just right with the right sound and even made that one note swing.  That was worth 4 years of college to me and said so much about space.  His one note was like the diamond in Cartier’s window.   If I have one complaint about a lot of Jazz today and Pop music is no space and lots of “clutter”.  When you create try to keep space in mind as part of your composition along with Benny Goodman’s advice.


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