"BM: Definitely Miles, early on, and always for a sense of melody or phrasing, and Coltrane, for sure. Bird, when I really got the be-bop bug. Of course, I loved Bud Powell and Monk, the piano players in that time period, but it was Bird's solos that I was transcribing, trying to go to the source. I still get off on his music, almost like an addiction."
Wow, it's nice to hear my idol reinforce an idea I've had for some time. Getting to the "source" of the music is so important! When I hear some of my favorite pianists I often wonder what their most major influence was when they were learning to play. For someone like Chick Corea, it's mostly the music of Bud Powell. You can hear it his chromaticism and feel it in his swing. Bud Powell was his "source" and it has sure paid off.
So when I listen to someone like Chick, I try to listen for his "Powellisms" and see how he incorporates them in to a performance. That way I can find a way to include the Chick Corea style in my own playing with a greater effect and understanding of his style
Anyway, my point is that if you want to play like a specific player, you may want to copy their style as well as their sources. Just remember, the goal is to play "like," not become, whoever you copy. Listen, transcribe, inovate!
See the whole interview here:
Don't forget, you can find this transcription under "transcriptions" on the top of this page.