The way Wayne Shorter works is the difference between a genius and a talent. The talent will come in, a great player. He’ll listen to my music, he’ll write out the chord changes, he’ll notice how weird they are and he’ll go, “Oh, this is deceptively simple.” Then he’ll figure out a part. He’ll play it. The first time, it’ll be a little rough. The second time, it’ll be better. The third time, he’s not gonna deviate. You’ll get up to take four, and I’ll ask him for take five, thinking maybe he’ll put a variation on it, but he won’t. He’s got his part, he’s done it, and he’s giving you a dirty look like, “Don’t you have it already?”
A talent is pretty good to work with.
A genius like Wayne is always exploring, so he’s gonna be more inconsistent. He’s gonna be all over the place. Because he’s going into new territory. The great things nearly always come on the edge of an error. What comes after the error is spectacular. So if you are hung up on the error, you missed the magic.
—Joni Mitchell In Her Own Words (interviewed by Malka Marom)