Up until recently, I would say my role was to take the artist, his concept, and his point of view and put them down on tape—not really fool with it too much. Now I’m more particular. I think if somebody is choosing a piano player who is not especially good or there are ten guys who are better, I am going to say so. “I am okay if you want to use this guy because he’s in your band, but is he in your band because he’ll work for three hundred a week? You can do better.” I know the argument about loyalty, and I know the argument about closeness. I buy them. I think they’re good arguments, but you can also make records with musicians that are not quite up to the job, and you are not going to sell as many of them, I don’t think. The idea is to speak up and be more back-and-forth with the artist. Then again, some guys—especially jazz guys—know what they want....
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