As far as phrasing it comes down to my time spent on the bandstand with Nick Brignola. He was the baddest and was my mentor. I was very lucky to have that relationship. I learned to phrase simply from standing next to him for so many years and listening to how it's done. I never had the right hand chops to pick every note (and make it swing) so I developed pull off-hammer on techniques to emulate his phrasing (and survive the tempos ; )
It was an organic process. I didn't transcribe or have a book of licks. Nothing like that. I just played a LOT of gigs. I can't stress the importance of having that experience with Nick. There is NOTHING like standing next to a master. You cannot get that in the practice room. Good phrasing is about rhythm and feel and I just used my ears. They are the REAL instrument..
Have a nice day, JB