You're just sort of searching for this 'thing' and sometimes you get it and sometimes you don't. All music is imperfect, but in jazz since you're improvising, at least the way I play, I'm trying to follow my train of thought in a solo.
Other quotes by John Abercrombie
Classical musicians do this all the time. They want perfection. So they piece things together. Eight bars of this and six bars of that. Glenn Gould said that with a recording he wanted to make perfect versions of pieces.
Every time I listen back to solos of mine I'll hear something I like and then another phrase that I can't stand. You have to live with what you play. And the recording medium puts that on us. When I play live gigs I don't think so much like that.