“To me there’s no such thing as beginning or end,” Mr. Shorter said. “I always say don’t discard the past completely because you have to bring with you the most valuable elements of experience, to be sort of like a flashlight. A flashlight into the unknown.”The key is to understand what "the most valuable elements of experience" are. Mindlessly keeping what was is not the point. You have to think.
That's the main point I wanted to make. The following is just an amusing side note, concerning pianist Danilo Pérez's initial discomfort playing with Shorter.
“It was scary, to be honest,” Mr. Pérez said of his early experience in the quartet. “It was a shock to put myself into a situation where I had no idea what was happening. Even when I listened back, I felt like an outsider: ‘What is that? What key are we in?’ ” He gradually made adjustments, including one to his practice regimen: for two or three hours at a stretch he would watch Tom and Jerry cartoons with the sound muted, making up a score.