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Happy birthday, Django!: A Study in Resilience and Innovation

January 23 marked the 108th birthday of the guitar legend Django Reinhardt, who passed away in 1953 at age 43. Considered a towering figure of 20th century music and a pioneering instrumentalist, Reinhardt’s influence can still be heard in the playing of contemporary guitarists from practically every genre. He was by all accounts the world’s…
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All About That Bass: The Essence of Leadership

Unless you’re a serious jazz head, you probably haven’t heard of bassist Gary Peacock. But Peacock’s pedigree is impressive: he’s played with such jazz legends as Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, and a host of others. I recently came across an article on the NPR website titled “Bassist Gary Peacock Is At The Soloist’s…
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Want to drive creativity? Improvise!

As a jazz musician, I’ve always believed that strengthening your ability to improvise can boost creativity whether or not you play an instrument. That’s why the workshops I do on creativity and innovation always include exercises in improvisation. No wonder a recent article titled “Jazz improvisers score high on creativity” caught my attention. Scientists at…
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How to turn a “fail” into a “win”

I love talking about failure, or more specifically, how thinking differently about failure and mistakes often lead us down unexpectedly fruitful paths. Miles Davis once quipped: “Do not fear mistakes; there are none.” That’s mostly true when playing jazz, a type of music that celebrates spontaneous self-expression — warts and all — rather than perfection.…
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