Exploring the Jazz Metaphor in Leadership and Management | Noel Dennis & Pete Churchill
Friday 30th September 2:30pm
Noel Dennis & Pete Churchill | Exploring the Jazz Metaphor in Leadership and Management (Workshop) | Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2022
Live | £7
Leadership and the Wisdom of Jazz
- Dr Edward Brooks, Executive Director of the Oxford Character Project
Over the last three years, Noel Dennis and Pete Churchill’s session on ‘Leadership and the Wisdom of Jazz’, has been a highlight of the Oxford Global Leadership Initiative. The workshop, with Noel Dennis on trumpet and flugelhorn and Pete Churchill on keys, introduces students to the creative and collaborative impulse at the heart of jazz, telling the story of its development and introducing some prominent personalities. The spontaneity and improvisation of the workshop models the kind of leadership that jazz music holds up, drawing students into the music as engaged listeners and then as creative co-performers. Insights from Noel’s academic work in the fields of management and marketing, such as the distinction between a ‘reader’ and a ‘jazzer’ organisation, which is employed to describe modes of relating to an organisation’s strategic document, are delivered at opportune breaks. Such
insights are communicated musically as well as intellectually, each reinforcing the other, with the session allowing space for reflection on the shared performance.
Student comments and questions combine with content delivered by Noel and Pete, creating a shared learning experience that provides a wonderful introduction to the possibilities of leadership in the creative and improvisatory style of jazz.
Student feedback (delivered anonymously as part of an academic study) consistently rated the workshop as ‘excellent’, 82% of respondents placing it at the top of a 5-point scale. Comments from 2017 and 2018 include:
“LOVED this!!! Such an engaging and interesting way to think about leadership!” - (2018)
“A lot of fun and interesting angle to leadership that I had not thought about before” - (2017)
“My favourite session of the programme!” - (2017)
“The jazz workshop was really interesting. I admired the way the two performers were able to bring together such an abstract concept as leadership in such a concrete thing as jazz. I also loved the history lesson that came along, as it really helped show the development of jazz through
the lens of leadership” - (2017)
DOWNLOAD THE FESTIVAL DIGITAL BROCHURE
This concert is presented by Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music with support from
Jazz at the Literary and Philosophical Society, Jazz North East and Arts Council England.
Noel is a professional jazz trumpet and flugel horn player, working with various artists and leading
his own quartet. He has played alongside the likes of Andy Sheppard, John Warren, Tommy
Smith, John Surman, Mark Nightingale, Tim Garland, Pete Churchill, Dave O’Higgins, Jim Mullen,
Bob Mintzer and Michael Garrick. His main musical influences include: Miles Davis, Bill Evans,
Herbie Hancock, Clifford Brown, Woody Shaw, Gerard Presencer, Paolo Fresu and Alex Sipiagin.
Noel also writes and records incidental music for TV and works closely with renowned composer
and producer Bob Bradley.
Originally trained in Canada, Pete Churchill has been based in England since 1985. His busy
freelance career has included work as diverse as a year in the West End as a Musical Director of
Five Guys named Moe, almost a decade and a half as the British accompanist for the legendary
jazz-singer Mark Murphy and the conductor of the Kenny Wheeler Big Band.
As a performer Pete has been featured at many festivals internationally working as a singer,
pianist and conductor. He has been a member of both Kenny Wheeler’s and Abdullah Ibrahim’s
vocal projects, travelled extensively as Mark Murphy’s accompanist and has collaborated with,
amongst others, Norma Winstone, Stan Sulzmann, John Taylor, Cleveland Watkiss, Julian
Arguelles, Bobby Wellins and Tina May. He has also released several critically acclaimed jazz
albums under his own name and recently conducted the 80th birthday tour of the Kenny Wheeler
Big Band - culminating in a critically acclaimed new album, The Long Waiting.
Much of Pete’s time now is taken up with directing his own choir ‘The London Vocal Project’. In
addition to high profile performances with Cleo Laine, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler and, most
recently Bobby McFerrin, this seminal ensemble of young singer/workshop leaders regularly join
Pete on his massive educational projects and they are fast gaining a reputation, under his
guidance, as the next generation of gifted educators.
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