Baritone saxophonist, flautist, educator, composer, arranger, Executive Director of The Maynard Ferguson Institute of Jazz and head of Jazz and Composition programs at Rowan University, DiBlasio is an international clinician/performer. Keeping things simple, honest, and positive keeps his schedule extremely busy booking dates sometimes three years in advance. Relevance, attainability and fun make up the foundation of his friendly approach.
This long interview with Brett Primack ('Jazz Video Guy') covers DiBlasio's years with Maynard Ferguson and his three decades as a jazz educator. Starting at roughly 1:07:50 DiBlasio talks about playing "in the zone":
I know right away where it is. I don't need to, I know how it feels and when you play and you can nail it and the whole band's working like a unit, it's that weightless kind of, no I don't know if it's like a drug induced kind of thing. But when you hit the zone, you can almost feel what everyone's doing. You know what they're doing; you're all thinking as one organism. And when you hit it, you hit it and you're doing things as a group and yourself that you've never done. Your ego is out of your playing and you're not fighting with the horn; you're prepared musically and you're not trying to do anything; you're letting it happen and you're playing with the right guys, all things being equal. And when you hit those zones, which don't always happen. In fact most of the time they don't.
But this is why people like to play with certain people. And when you listen to like A Love Supreme and like that quartet with John [Coltrane] and McCoy [Tyner] and Jimmy [Garrison] and Elvin [drums] you know you just kind of hear this place that they get this is just, it's like zone and sometimes you hit it and you don't know why. And you're in it and really it's weightless. You don't feel weight, you don't feel the horn, you don't even know where you're at. And it's all just working together and then you kind of land and come back.
And when that happens, like I, I kind of cherish that feeling when it happens. And you could do it when you're practice, you can do it with other people. But when you hit this zone, for me it's like man, that really felt great, and then most of the time like you don't hit it, or whatever like that "Salt Peanuts" thing [which we heard earlier in the interview], if you can't hear well, you're not going to be in the zone. You're going to be working to make sure it doesn't fall apart. Or if it's too loud or it's too soft or whatever, you're holding it together. That's a different head, and when I listen back to that recording ["Salt Peanuts"] I think I wish I would have heard better, I wouldn't have sat on one note for half a minute you know....
But when you do hit the zone, I'm more about that, like I, and you know, you can't try and hit it. You have to relax your way into it. It's a real, I don't know if it's a Zen thing or whatever it is, but you can hit and man when you hit it, it's like whooo! this is, I don't even know what time it is.
Primack goes on to note that he sometimes slips into the zone when he's editing video and that, as a long-time listener, he can always tell when the musicians are in the zone.
I've gathered anecdotes of musicians in the zone into a downloadable PDF, Emotion and Magic in Musical Performance,Version 6, https://www.academia.edu/16881645/Emotion_and_Magic_in_Musical_Performance_Version_6.