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Leadership topic - Art Blakey

Art Blakey engaged in music from an early age.  Born in 1919 to a single mother who died shortly after birth, he fell in with other cousins and showed a talent for piano.  Varying accounts are he was forced from piano to drums “at gunpoint” but either way, he progressed through all of the great bands of the 30’s – Fletcher Henderson, Billy Eckstine, and a tour with Thelonious where he was described as “his most empathetic drummer”.  That sounds like a clue to good Delegation – another good competency – empathy.  And I like have a drummer be our guide – he will keep the rhythm and pace around us as we look for clues in our own instruments.

What sets Blakey apart is his mastery of Delegation and Talent Management. Even when he plays, he disappears as he Delegates the rhythm and melody to the other players in the Jazz Messengers – who would include such greats as Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Hank Mobley – literally a Who’s Who of Jazz. All got their start with Art, and after they had learned how to keep the beat, he helped them move onto their own great careers.  Delegation… the perfect topic for Art Blakey.