I went to Chicago. I made a pilgrimage. I took a week off, I went up to Chicago, I had a little car, and I found my way to a place called the Savoy. I sat on a rug-covered bandstand and just waited, and Louis Armstrong came on.
The first thing he played was “West End Blues” and I heard this cascade of notes coming out of a trumpet. No one had ever done that before.
So I was obsessed with the idea that this was what you had to do, something that was your own, that had nothing to do with anybody else.
I was influenced by him, not in terms of notes, but in terms of the idea of doing what you are, who you are.
– Artie Shaw, Our Language, Jazz PBS