A good percussionist starts with a good human being. I learned that from Wayne Shorter, a very influential mentor for me. Being a good percussionist technically is to execute the rudiments so you can support the rest of the musicians. From there, you need to be able to realize inner ideas. This is what band leaders have looked for in me, such as Maceo Parker, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, and Dizzy Gillespie.
People say it's not what you know, it's who you know. But I say, don't you think it's how they feel when you're around that's most important? It was Charlie Mingus who showed me the importance of influencing the other members of the band. When I played with Mingus, he made me sound better just by being onstage.