"I have felt the power of jazz since I was 16 years old, when my high school art teacher, an influential figure in my life, turned me on to the music. But only now do I fully understand the many ways it has helped me organize my life and fuel my spirit." -Bill Strickland
In conjunction with the publication of Make the Impossible Possible: One Man's Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary (Doubleday/Currency; December 31, 2007; $23.95), Concord Jazz announces the release of Music to Make the Impossible Possible. This 14-track companion CD includes jazz tracks by Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson along with others that have inspired visionary Bill Strickland throughout his amazing life journey. The CD also includes a new original song, "A World of Possibility," written specifically to capture, musically, key messages in the book, an interview with Strickland from a 2006 segment of NPR's Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz (podcast), as well as a previously unreleased Strickland narrative.
Bill Strickland does not play a musical instrument but Dizzy Gillespie once called him "one hell of a jazz musician." Strickland, who is the founder of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and MCG Jazz, is a visionary who has had years of success leading a jazz life without playing a single note. For over 30 years, Strickland has helped to transform the lives of thousands of people through the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, a community arts education program and job training center in Pittsburgh. Strickland speaks of the power of the arts, in particular jazz music, to connect people from all walks of life and "the transformative power that comes when your work and skill and imagination result in the creation of a beautiful thing." Strickland adds about Music to Make the Impossible Possible, "All of these tracks are stellar examples of clarity, swing, and passion-as all great jazz performances must have all three. I have grouped them to illustrate how I have been able to learn and grow from the power and inspiration that jazz music provides."
Strickland is a three-time Harvard Business School case study, a MacArthur Genius Award winner, has lectured at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has served on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1986 he established MCG Jazz as part of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild. MCG Jazz is comprised of an educational jazz program, record label, recording studio as well as a world-class 350 seat concert hall which has been graced by such jazz elite as Dizzy Gillespie, Dr. Billy Taylor, Marian McPartland, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck and Max Roach, to name a few. Over the past twenty years, MCG Jazz has produced over 1,200 concerts at its legendary auditorium, and its recordings have won numerous GRAMMY® Awards. Five of the tracks on Music to Make the Impossible Possible were also recorded at and released by MCG Jazz.