Here’s a quote I like for one particular phrase. It’s from the 24 January entry of The 1959 Project, and it’s Benny Golson (composer/tenor-saxophonist) in an interview with Downbeat in 2000, talking about 1958-9:
“One night during my first week with Art at the Cafe Bohemia, Thelonious Monk came in,” he told the magazine. “When I came off the bandstand, he said to me, ‘You play too perfect.’ I knew it wasn’t a compliment. Art Blakey was standing on the side, snickering like that little dog in the cartoon. Monk let me stew for 15 or 20 seconds, looking at me all the time through his sunglasses with the bamboo temples on them, and he said, ‘You’ve got to make mistakes to discover the new stuff.’ I thought about that. The next night I came in, and played like a man taking leave of his senses, trying to get away from the well-worn patterns I’d fashioned for myself, like mathematics — and music is anything but that. I was jumping off cliffs and bridges, standing in front of trains! That started to move me out of where I was before — ‘mellifluous,’ ‘sweet.’ ‘charming’ are words people used.”
I loved this phrase, as a description for trying to break out of a well-worn rut, or an over-habitual habit:
I was jumping off cliffs and bridges, standing in front of trains!
The metaphors probably need more clear potential upsides, but still, exciting!