Great thread, I got a lot to think about and try. Just to add my own thoughts on this question... +1 on listening to horns. When I play a solo in the "Pink Panther" theme (bluesy jazz), I tend to fill it up with notes, sometimes painting myself into a corner. But if I play along with the original Mancini recording, and follow the sax solo, I'm shamed by the sax player's comparatively minimal phrasing. Then I try to emulate those short, tasty, effective phrases of the sax, but it's hard not to fall into old habits. Practice! Good point. I think tension & release is a primary driving aspect of most music, fiction, movies etc. The effect is what Aristotle called "purging"—a release of emotions that cleanses the soul.... or something. Music does this uniquely.