Tag Archives: improvisation

Jazz as business metaphor

As a fan of avant garde jazz and an MBA who reads a lot of professional develpment stuff, I’m often frustrated by articles that use jazz as a metaphor or analogy to impart some advice about the importance of improvisation in business. However, I liked several things in Michael Blanding’s recent review of Michael Wheeler’s book on negotiation: The Art of Negotiation.

Blanding opens the review with a quote from Eisenhower that I really like:

There’s a saying in the military: “Plans go out the window at the first contact with the enemy.” Even General Dwight Eisenhower—who oversaw the most ambitious military invasion in modern history—said, “Plans are worthless.” But he added an important caveat: “Planning is everything.”

The review covers many aspects of negotiation, from the aforementioned planning/preparedness, to dealing with uncertainty, to listening, to strategy, to mindfulness and more. Quotes from great negotiators are laid side by side with quotes from recognized artists/improvisers. Near the end of the review, Blanding says:

Being centered emotionally is essential to negotiation success. Wheeler says it requires being comfortable with seemingly contradictory feelings—for example, being simultaneously calm and alert—and approaching negotiation as an ongoing process of discovery about the situation, your counterpart, and perhaps even yourself.

And as long as I’m discussing this, I might as well provide a link to my friend Scott’s article a few years ago, talking about what jazz soloists know about creative collaboration.

 

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Cleve Pozar: I Did the Number

I was going through some older email, looking at videos that have been sent over the years that I kept unread for “when I have the time,” and found this one that is a trailer for an as-yet-unrealized documentary of Cleve Pozar.

I was introduced to Cleve’s music by my friend Adam, who has a nice interview with Cleve on his website at http://www.50milesofelbowroom.com/articles/73-cleve-pozar.html. I’ve got a copy of his record “Solo Percussion”, which is great, and Cleve also has a number of clips up on youtube. I really like that he is steeped in the world of improvisation, but his compositions are incredibly intricate as well.

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In Order to Survive

I’ve spent this morning working, and will do the same much of the afternoon, despite it being a Saturday. Things are a bit chaotic at work right now, which can sometimes be frustrating and overwhelming, but can also be exciting. Ultimately, I prefer a bit of chaos to boredom and dull repetition.

The same can be said for the music I listen to. This selection from the group In Order to Survive features a raucous piano solo from Cooper-Moore, propelled along by William Parker on bass and Hamid Drake on drums. William and Hamid have put out a few duo records that are among my favorite things to put on while I work. This selection demands your attention though – it’s not background music. It’s great to see artist Jeff Schlanger creating a vision of the music as it happens.

This is a selection from the 2012 Vision Festival in NYC – I attended the festival a couple of times, I think in ’98 and ’99, and seeing this caliber of creative music is always inspiring. I love how order and patterns emerge out of the chaos and then either repeat or disappear. Very glad I took the time to look for this inspiration today.