Whenever I sit down to play, I'm quiet for a couple of seconds. Then I ask permission from the ancestors to allow me to do these things that have already been done.
A joke about that comes from "Sweets" Edison. After I played a drum solo, he said to me, "Yeah, you thought that shit was something, huh?"
I said, "Well..."
"That shit was nothin' but a bunch of old Sid Catlett licks!" Of course, nobody in the club even knew who Sid Catlett was.
-Albert "Tootie" Heath, interviewed by Ethan Iverson