Well, you don’t really teach it; you try to understand it. And you try to understand it from the outside in. You need to try and understand it from a distance, from as far away as possible. You have to kind of take a Zen, Eastern approach. You know, what I mean by that is a Western approach would be, like, you walk up to a flower and you wanna try to understand it, the Western approach would be to cut up the flower. The Eastern approach would be, like, “Let’s just try to observe the flower and see if we can understand about the flower using all our senses and observation and try to be with the flower. Let’s just stop being ourselves for a minute—after we observe it and everything, let’s see if we can divorce ourselves from ourselves and be with the flower.” It’s like going up and hugging the tree. But to hug a tree successfully, one has to lose one’s self to see if you can actually feel the tree. Can you really feel anything happening in the bark, in your touch? Are you experiencing anything after you get out of yourself in the tree?—Henry Threadgill Unedited on teaching a style of creative improvisation such as that by Cecil Taylor.
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