Summer, jazz, and lessons learned

Summer and festivals go together. I’ve been volunteering this week at Jazzfest, the Victoria International Jazz Festival. It’s the 27th annual. It’s a great festival.  I’ve volunteered other years, too.  It’s one way I show my appreciation for what jazz has given me.

Jazzfest, the festival

The Victoria Jazz Society is a professional arts organization committed to presenting the highest quality of jazz possible to our community, by presenting music in performance, with acclaimed musicians.  It does, indeed.

Darryl Mar is Executive/Artistic Director of the Victoria Jazz Society, and Jazzfest. He’s been the driving force behind the Society and Jazzfest since its start in 1985.

27 years is an amazing run. My observation is that Jazzfest has found a way to adapt itself, within a structured environment, where funding is always a challenge. Working collaboratively with partner cities and festivals, Darryl and his team make it work, year after year. It helps to have continuity at the top, although Darryl seems to be the type who leads from behind (in true jazz fashion). And like another festival I enjoy, Jazzfest is a community experience.

Satisfied customers and sponsors will keep people coming back. One of the performers at this years Jazzfest is Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Here’s a clip of him and his band on the David Letterman show.  Enjoy:

Why jazz matters

Jazz, creativity, collaboration, creativity, innovation, its all connected. If you look at the makeup of collaborative, innovative teams, the spirit of jazz runs throughout. Small, self-organized teams, no bigger than a jazz band, structured, yet improvisatory, open, conversational, authentic oh, yeah, and that joy thing.

I’m one of those people who started playing music later in life. Although I studied a bit of jazz music in university, it wasn’t until I hit forty that I joined my first band, a jazz big band. I spent 4 years with them as their guitarist.  Jazz has taught me much over the years. And, I’ve tried to incorporate a few of the lessons into my professional life; e.g., Be a better mediator: 5 jazz learning techniques worth investing in.

Other bloggers have found sustenance in jazz, too Presentation Zen and Brains on Purpose are two that come readily to mind.  Check ’em out.


What’s your favourite festival? What has it taught you and/or what does it represent, and that you bring to your professional life?

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