“It isn’t too hard,” he replies. “I do it better. On piano, you have to bring your own fingers.
“I’m very good at that,” he adds. “If I can control my voice properly, I’m good at that.
“You can’t do a solo on guitar. That’s bad technique. You are only using the first string. If you are trying to play an idea, you don’t know the first string. And so it becomes harder. When I sing, I sing through my singing voice. And that makes it much easier.”
He also admits that, in addition to studying his instrument, he has been “a bit obsessed” with jazz, “sitting in a corner on my front floor in my village” while his parents were away, “and writing this book about what I think jazz is.”
“If no one had written anything else, it wouldn’t happen.”
He says those influences include a range of artists, ranging from Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and David Bowie to Miles’s son, Miles Davis Jr.
“And so this book is about what jazz is,” he says. “It’s about where I come from and what I do with what I do.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Miles Davis, on guitar during the performance he recorded for Miles Davis Jr. (1970). Photograph: Getty Images
“How hard is it to get an idea into your head when you are sitting on a piano or a Fender Mustang and you get a chord on your guitar? Well, it wasn’t hard before I started playing guitar. But you have to learn the guitar as a way of thinking and expressing yourself.
“But if you go into a studio and play the song thinking that’s how it should sound and you don’t think you can express yourself with it. Well, you’re going to be very disappointed.
“Guitar is good enough, but I don’t care how you write a tune, it’s got to sound great. A melody, I’m not interested in making something sound like the opening bars of a jazz song. We write music we’re really into. It has to be something we really want to do.”
And he says, “The guitar is definitely the best instrument.”
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