Tag: music

White Space

“It ain’t about the notes you play,” legendary trumpeter Miles Davis once proclaimed. “It’s about the notes you don’t play.” In the art world, the unused space around a painted object is known as white space and is considered equally important to the image itself. The open space frames the work, providing the necessary contrast to allow […]

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The Times, They Are a Changin’

Diplomacy with Cuba.  More mobile devices than people on the planet.  Cyber-attacks, not bombs, are the biggest threat to national security.  Retailers such as Amazon delivering merchandise via drones.  TV networks advertising when they actually have a scripted show. Who woulda’ thunk it? Back in early January of 1964, legendary songwriter Bob Dylan prophesied, “The […]

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You Are What You Believe

As we were about to take the stage together last week, Geoff Clapp, a New Orleans jazz drummer, said something especially powerful to me. While giving talks on innovation, I often hire local musicians and incorporate live jazz as a metaphor for business creativity (I’ve been playing jazz guitar for more than 30 years). We […]

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Video Killed The Radio Star

When MTV launched back in 1981, the first music video aired was aptly named “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. The song, and the concept, made history as a new format of musical entertainment that rose to prominence. The underlying message is one of transformation. Technology advances, global market expansion, ubiquitous access to […]

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Sometimes You Just Gotta Feed The Pigeons

While studying jazz guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, I had the privilege to study with the legendary Mick Goodrick. As a young and hungry musician, I was especially frustrated at one point after reaching a seemingly impossible plateau. Goodrick offered profound advice on how to overcome my deeply technical musical problem: […]

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5 Leadership Lessons From The Beatles

Inspiration comes from unlikely places. For some, nature is a source of ideation. For others, family and friends can give a twist of insight into something unrelated to your actual discussion. For me, I constantly find nuggets of wisdom in music — sometimes in lyrics, sometimes in a pattern, and sometimes just in the way […]

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Changing Your Soundtrack

Earlier this month, the 56th annual Grammy ceremony awarded Thomas Newman a Grammy for the score he composed for the James Bond movie Skyfall. It was a brilliant work, enhancing the emotions throughout the intense journey of Agent 007. Newman’s masterpiece was the connective tissue that stitched together scenes and characters, allowing us to savor […]

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Chipping Away

MYTH: Achievement occurs through some gigantic epiphany or an all-at-once breakthrough. FACT: Most things worth accomplishing involve a persistent stream of small advances that, over time, lead to something transformational. Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside.  It is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”  His vision was brought to life […]

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Your Band Doesn’t Need Five Drummers

Imagine if the Beatles had no Paul, John, or Ringo… just four Georges.  Their incredible contribution to the world – their timeless music – would be merely overlapping guitar solos and too many strumming chords.  Blah! A great band comes to life through the unique contribution of varying instruments, talents, and perspectives.  So why then […]

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Think Like a Jazz Combo

I’ve had the privilege of performing jazz guitar on stage for nearly 30 of my 40 years. Live improvisation is an adrenaline rush like no other. Spontaneous creativity in real-time.

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Rocket Science, Brain Surgery and… Art?

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do that!” the common phrase goes. “C’mon man, this isn’t brain surgery after all.” I started wondering why these two disciplines – rocket science and brain surgery – are so highly regarded. They both involve tremendous precision, years of study, mathematical calculations, complex directions, excessive memorization, […]

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