Advice from NEA Jazz Masters Benny Golson and Ahmad Jamal [1:39]

  Benny Golson:  Keep an open mind, and weigh everything carefully.  This is the Life up, under  Don't discard anything until you know what it's about.  And don't ever be---don't ever be satisfied with yourself.  You can settle down into obscurity.  There's always something new to learn, believe me, and no one person knows it all.  Never be satisfied.  That's dangerous.  This is the Life up and under  Ahmad Jamal: I say this all over the world when I do interviews. Have more than one exit door, because if you only have one exit door, a fire breaks out, you may get trampled to death. What do I mean by that? If you want to be a performer and the doors are closed temporarily, don’t get frustrated because you’ve gone to school and you learn how to write, or you learn how to teach, or you learn how to conduct. Prepare yourself with more than one exit door so you won’t get trampled to death, and you can be places because you want to be, not because you have to be. And the only way you’re going to do that is education. Not all the schools are perfect, but the value in seeking knowledge, is much more important than being out in the street, wandering aimlessly at a too impressionable young age. And most of the times when you’re that young and you’re out here, and you’re not in the educational system, you get destroyed because you don’t know how to say yes, you don’t know how to say no. And that’s the sad story of so many of our youngsters that get caught up in the world, as opposed to being equipped for the world. Only way you can do that is to get education, and I mean, spiritually and temporally, on both sides.
MUSIC CREDIT: “This Is the Life,” composed and performed by Ahmad Jamal, from his album, Blue Moon, used courtesy of DL Media/Jazz Village  
NEA Jazz Masters Benny Golson (1996) and Ahmad Jamal (1994) let us in on their respective secrets to success. The links take you to our podcasts with each musician.