GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Saturday, July 18, 2015

What Miles Davis can teach an actor...

I remember someone asking Miles Davis why he played his trumpet with a mute. Miles told him that it created a sound that was the closest he could come to the human voice. As one who sees a correlation between playing music and performing dialogue in acting, this answer stuck with me. As best I can, I try to get actors with whom I work to understand this and insinuate as many musical elements into their speaking voice as possible--phrasing, pitch, cadence, tonality, inference and even 'quoting'. These jazz concepts are all fundamental to my Action/ReAction technique, which I continue to develop.

Here are a few more quotes from Miles that can definitely apply directly to an actor in performance, approach and attitude. In a session, I would guide the actor to understanding how these quotes would apply to them personally, but here I'll leave the reader to ponder them and arrive at his or her own conclusions as to how they might apply.

"The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas."

“Don't play what's there, play what's not there.”

“When you’re creating your own shit, man, even the sky ain’t the limit.”

“It's not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”

“Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent.”

“I always listen to what I can leave out.”

“For me, music and life are all about style.”

“If you don't know what to play, play nothing.”

“Do not fear mistakes, there are none.”

“I remember one time - it might have been a couple times - at the Fillmore East in 1970, I was opening for this sorry-ass cat named Steve Miller. Steve Miller didn't have his shit going for him, so I'm pissed because I got to open for this non-playing motherfucker just because he had one or two sorry-ass records out. So I would come late and he would have to go on first and then we got there we smoked the motherfucking place, everybody dug it.”

See these and other quotes from Miles Davis at:

No comments: