I skipped school one day to see Dizzy Gillespie, and that's where I met Coltrane. Coltrane and Jimmy Heath just joined the band, and I brought my trumpet, and he was sitting at the piano downstairs waiting to join Dizzy's band. He had his saxophone across his lap, and he looked at me and he said, 'You want to play?'
I was being ridiculed for going to school... But, you see, I had looked hard at the other musicians and the whole show-business scene... They were doing with jazz musicians what they usually reserved for rock n' roll cats: making them overnight successes, then overnight antiques.
Here in Seattle, I'm the most productive I've ever been. I don't allow myself personal distractions. I'm extremely disciplined here.
I don't follow what everybody else does.
It's an incredible dilemma to be an artist of color and to always be in denial about that, saying, 'I'm a choreographer first and then I'm black,' when in fact, that's not the case. I'm black first and then I'm also a choreographer.