All that Jazz

Jazz seems to be a wonderfully free form of working together. And, it is, in many respects. But any forms of jazz require a framework within which the music can develop and grow — even the freest forms of jazz use such frameworks.

Let us start with the great Wynton Marsalis explaining Blues to us. Blues builds on forms of classical music and then puts them together differently. So, there is a framework in which to make music.

But what about all the improvisation? Isn’t that entirely free? Watch a video on collective improvisation in New Orleans Jazz with Evan Christopher and others.

What about free jazz, then? Can you make it playful? There are jazz games. John Zorn is one of the great jazz gamers. But how can you play such a musical game? It needs rules, and you need to stick to them. Enjoy saxophonist Walter Blanding explaining Jazz Games.


And here are some questions for your own reflection:

  • What is a pre-requisite for a creative jam session in your workplace?
  • What rules would you suggest to enable your team to improvise together?
  • For what tasks would you encourage free improvisation, and for what jobs would you recommend a different style of cooperation and leadership?
  • How do you personally feel being part of a jazz band-styled team?