You’ve never been complacent to play just one type of music. To what do you attribute your musical curiosity?
Musically I am intellectually curious. And I play an instrument that is quite possibly the only instrument that exists that you can be the whole orchestra; the whole orchestra is at your fingertips. You could spend two lifetimes and not deal with the literature of the piano.
If you talk about the incredible, massive classical tradition and then you go into popular song styles from ragtime to boogie-woogie and blues and then to all the jazz… Just dealing with jazz from Jelly Roll Morton, which comes from ragtime; and then goes into Fats Waller and then Art Tatum with the stride music and James P. Johnson; and then to be-bop with Bud Powell and then into hard-bop/post-bop in the ‘60s with Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett and McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, and on and on. Then deal with New Orleans piano — Professor Longhair, Huey “Piano” Smith, Dr. John… You could just go on and on.
I love all this music and on a virtuosic level I’m interested in playing the instrument well, and I’m interested in all these styles. I’m interested also in finding a place for this pianistic expression in my songwriting.