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Pushing Boundarie

Kind of Blue: Pushing Boundaries with Miles Davis on Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge (free access)
Professor Robert D. Austin and Carl Størmer, interviewed by Martha Lagace
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Ask jazz fans the world over to name their favorite compilation, and chances are their response is Kind of Blue. With music that is sophisticated and sublime, spare yet complex, trumpeter and composer Miles Davis (1926-1991) reached dazzling new heights of creativity when the album was recorded in only two short sessions in 1959.

At the age of 32, Davis coaxed innovative ideas out of his players—among them greats including John Coltrane and Bill Evans—that took everyone by surprise. He also remade the industry, introducing longer, more contemplative songs like the now-classic "So What."

Since 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Kind of Blue, it's a good time to ask: How did he do it?

One of the answers is "radical simplicity," according to HBS professor Robert D. Austin and Carl Størmer, founding principal of JazzCode, a consulting and entertainment firm specializing in improvisational collaboration and communication in high-performance teams.

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