Mistake, improvisation, and life

This morning, I saw this gem making its way through my Facebook feed:

"And I remember we were playing 'So What'. And it was a really hot night. The music was ON. Right in the middle of Miles' solo, when he was playing one of his amazing solos, I played the WRONG chord. Completely wrong, it sounded like a BIG MISTAKE. And Miles paused for a second, then he played some notes that made my chord right. He made it correct. Miles didn't hear it as a mistake. He heard it as something that happened. Just an event. And so, that was part of the reality of what was happening at that moment, and he dealt with it. Since he didn't hear it as a mistake, he felt it was his responsibility to find something that fit. That taught me a very big lesson about not only music, but about life." 

- Herbie Hancock

For me, some of the most enjoyable dances to watch is when both partners are taking risks and allow for "mistakes" to happen, and then use that "opportunity" to build something different or unexpected.  After all, lindy hop came from jazz, so it's only fitting that this same spirit is preserved across from the music to the movements - isn't it?

You can hear Herbie's quote in a recording here on YouTube:

Shawn ChiaoComment