I’ve thought about this a great deal and am now prepared to share some of my thoughts about it.
I’ve conceded to playing more jazz over the past five years and it has proved to be very beneficial to my playing. At first I was hesitant to begin working on this style, having studied classical music for the better part of fifteen years at that point. However, my reluctance was all for nothing. My independent study of jazz has proven to me that there are benefits to my classical playing, and my jazz playing has benefited from my classical studies.
Some of the benefits include: classical technique improves jazz performance, aural skills acquired for jazz benefit classical playing, the more flexible embouchure used in jazz helps to “loosen up” my classical playing to create a more flexible sound palette, my jazz playing has never been “academic” — which I believe has made my playing more personal and expressive.
These are just things that I’ve noticed in my own playing. I’m sure that others out there will notice similar (or perhaps even different) things in their playing.
As I continue on my musical journey, there will be other things that will contribute to my playing and musicianship. Two things that will always influence what I do are: 1) my heavy classical training, and 2) my love for both classical music and jazz.