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August 20, 2008



this is so true!
i mean the simple "so what?" question, the "story" and to be just yourself in a presentation. It's all "Jazz".

I just had two speakings last weekend. One about "new media" and how to use them as marketing instrument, one about photography. Different listeners, different expectations. All no problem if you make the connection to your audience and "play improvisation". You KNOW what you like to say - if the "So What?" is clear in your mind - you can choose slightly different ways and stories to get this "so what" out to your audience - depending on who is listening to you.

It's a bit of reading in the faces and body-language of the audience too and then react on them - and let them react on you. Once you have build up this connection (hopefully in the first minutes) it's just great fun and success - for both sides.... just like good Jazz.

T. Benjamin Larsen

So let me guess Garr - Your next book will be called 'Presentation Jazz'? Right? ;)


If you like this thread, you may also find interest in the old Max Depree book from the early 90s called Leadership Jazz. I also think IEEE published a Communication Jazz book if I recall. Yes, it is a very powerful theme that helps us understand quite a bit about communication. Enjoy, and thanks for the entry. I had not thought about this connection for a very long time.


I highly recommend "Miles from India" - which is a tribute to Miles featuring Miles Davis alumni (McLaughlin, Corea, and many more) with India's maestros (such as Vikku, Zakir, Srinivas).

Something I have noticed about modal jazz compositions from Miles to Metheny: even though modal jazz allows the soloist to focus on melodic improvisation, the things that stick with me on are the vamps and the ways they quickly create a cohesive and memorable theme. Simple, Concreteness ("Soooo What?") really work here. So even though I can't remember past the first few bars of Miles' trumpet solos, when a bass player starts with just the first few notes of the "All Blues" vamp - even casual jazz listeners know the standard.


Here's a link about the possibility that mental illness was a factor in the development of jazz:


And about the neuroscience of improv:



The way Miles recorded Kind of Blue is legendary. The musicians were only handed sheets at the sessions with the briefest of guides to scales and the entire album went down in only two days in 1959. It's generally held to be one of the greatest (jazz) albums of all time

Almost ten years later another musical genius followed an eerily similar path to produce another classic album. Although not a smash hit at the time, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is now widely considered a masterpiece.

Although known at the time as rocknroll/folk artist, Van hired jazz musicians, played them the songs on guitar in the studio and then said, "Play whatever you feel is appropriate". Van's own instrumentation was quite structured and pre-recorded. Then the band jammed to his base tracks and he improvised his vocals along with the live playing of the other artists. To Van his voice has always BEEN an instrument. Of course he has since recorded a lot of jazz. Indeed his live at Montreaux album is another benchmark, this time for live albums

At least every other month or so I have to sit down late at night with the headphones on, few fingers of scotch and listen to Astral Weeks straight through or I'm 'not quite right' ;-)

Although they are at first glance the two albums have nothing to do with each other, separated by time, artist, and genre ... I'm surprised they are not linked more often.

- Dean

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