Excerpted from the article by Brant Taylor:
Author Michael Ruhlman’s writings about Thomas Keller sparked my interest in this topic some years ago. I paraphrase Ruhlman here, easily turning what was for him a culinary discussion into a musical one:
The concept of finesse rests upon a conviction that paying attention to a handful of small details in a given musical pursuit has an enormous impact on the quality of the finished result, and is a primary form of gratification for the musician in his or her pursuit of a rarefied level of accomplishment. The level to which a musician attends to these details describes the finesse of the musician.