Tag Archive: Jazz


Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga at the GRAMMYS (courtesy Billboard.com)

I read a business book once that said (paraphrasing) that increasingly in the 21st century, rather than competing against each other to see who can climb the wall of success first, businesses will join hands and scale the wall together (I apologize for omitting the reference, but now that I’m AARP eligible as of last week, I suppose instances of memory loss will become more frequent). The metaphor essentially emphasizes the importance of collaboration in our economy, for a number of reasons – ease of purchase from the customer’s perspective when multiple businesses offer a wider array of services, project teams with a broader perspective generating ideas, greater geographic reach, cross-training, etc.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of collaboration is the ability to reach out to new customers by sharing customer and contact lists. The introduction to new customers through your business collaborators brings a sense of credibility.

Take the case of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

The duo’s collaborative effort, the recently released Cheek to Cheek album has hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. According to USA Today, the joint jazz album sold 131,000 copies in the week ending Sept. 28 (Nielsen SoundScan), making Bennett, 88, the oldest living act to earn a No. 1 album.

Lady Gaga’s youthful fan base and her pop success might have given older generations pause when she crossed over to jazz standards, categorizing her as simply the next passing trend in the pop world. But Bennett’s seal of approval provides a reason for mature fans to take a closer look and listen with an objective ear. Conquering different genres can be a key to longevity for many in the music industry (Elvis Costello, Christina Aguilera, Elvis, Sting, Pat Benatar, to name a few).

Likewise, Lady Gaga’s participation brings a continued sense of “hipness” to jazz standards, and exposes Tony to a new generation of potential fans.

Have you thought about collaborative partners for your business or artistic endeavor?

 

I’ve never been one to jump at trends, so I must admit that I didn’t watch the first 3 years of the show American Idol. But soon thereafter I became hooked. As commercially overblown as the show has become, it is so very compelling because so much is at stake and such young performers must give it their best on the spot several times over.

This season I can’t help but root for Naima Adedapo. I must admit my affinity for jazz makes these sentiments far from objective, as her absolutely sultry performance of the standard “Summertime” was scintillating. She works as janitor, which is hard to believe when you seen her perform – and how can you not root for her. The judges avoided a grave injustice (well as grave as a singing competition decision can be) by allowing her to enter the sing-off and compete for a “wild-card” spot in the finals after the voters had failed to vote her in. She then gave an emotional performance on the verge of tears, and showed why she is such a compelling performer – she has emotion to complement her skills.

Here’s the link to Naima singing “Summertime”

Wynton-Marsalis_He-and-She

Wynton Marsalis’s album He and She is music interspersed with poetry, and a poignant take on relationships and romance. In this excerpt from an interview with Achievement.org, Marsalis discusses the respectful approach that jazz takes toward courtship:

“There is so much in jazz music to be studied and to be learned, and so little education. I could go on and on and on, just about what Duke Ellington did. And, also the romantic connotations of the music. The music had the effect of liberating a lot of the people from this Victorian image of sexuality. But, for some reason people still think they need to be liberated from that. This is something jazz music was doing around the turn of the century. And, now it’s degenerated in the modern era to the type of vulgarity that is represented by rock and roll, which parades under the guise of giving you sexual freedom, when it’s really, truly, sexual repression.

“Sexual freedom is found in the sensuality and the romance and the lyricism of the great songwriters like George Gershwin and Cole Porter and Duke Ellington, and of the great instrumentalists like Louis Armstrong and Lester Young. These people had a truly romantic conception that was based on elevation of the relationship between a man and a woman, rather than the denigration of it into just some abusive adolescent sexual discoveries.”

To read the entire transcript go to Achievement.org.
To sample Wynton Marsalis’s He and She album, click here.
To read my review of He and She for Where Y’at magazine in New Orleans, click here.
To read my interview with Wynton’s father, Ellis Marsalis, Jr., including his thoughts on raising children, click here

Jazz Musician who tackled business skills..http://ping.fm/Xxda1

Book Cover

(Book excerpt) From my colleague and friend Michael Gold. Check out his website to learn more about his “Jazz-Impact” workshop.

“What’s going on in jazz is that we are constantly taking the risk of prototyping new ideas. That’s what improvisation means. If we want to be a culture of innovation…we have to redefine how we take risks and how we think about risk.”

Dr. Michael Gold
Founding Principal
Jazz Impact

Jazz Impact Workshop

Jazz Impact Workshop

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