Fortune Magazine Features Peter Morgan Band
Swing Shift - Fortune Magazine
Sales of men's suits may be plummeting, but electric guitar sales are way, way up. Saxophones, keyboards, and even tambourines are becoming hot commodities in corporate America. Meanwhile, the guy who allegedly runs America's economy turns out to be a former professional clarinetist and bandleader-who just happened into a day gig as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
American business is alive with the sound of music, only these days it's not just coming from some dot-commie with a set of bongos under his desk; now even big corporations are tuning in. When former Disney honcho Judson Green spoke with GE CEO Jack Welch and Daimler Chrysler CEO Jorgen Schrempp at a big conference recently, he didn't bring a PowerPoint presentation with him-he brought his jazz ensemble and spent an hour explaining how jazz is a metaphor for running a corporation. At Cox Enterprises' management meeting last year, Cox Rocks, a homegrown band, provided the sound track. The next morning Cox Chairman Jim Kennedy praised the group from the podium, although, he added, he wasn't sure what to think about seeing his senior legal counsel wailing away on lead guitar.
All this music in the corporate world wouldn't have happened five years ago. But the crust is crumbling from office life. At night, after their last meeting, these modern executives can be found sporting Santana-style headbands and working out the lead guitar parts to "Smooth" or shuffling through their jazz charts, absorbing a little more Coltrane. So rollover, Adam Smith: People are talent, not machines! Let 'em play.
Reprinted with permission from Fortune Magazine
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He does that with numerous local appearances, playing mostly smooth jazz. It's not unheard of, though, for the band to slip into some reggae or trashy rock songs just for fun. He's also got two albums on the market, Looky Hear" and "Window to Paradise" both available on his web site www.petermorgan.com. His third album , he says, has been 80 percent done for "a while" but the remaining 20 percent will probably take most of the time on the project.
"I work at Intel, that's what I do, and I have to fit the music in when I can," Morgan says. "They're great at encouraging work/life balance, but it still comes down to making compromises. I mean that in a good way, but sometimes you have to choose between sleeping and doing your project, and the world is full of underachievers who get plenty of sleep."
He further describes his music as "a nonprofit hobby," but that doesn't mean he's unknown. In addition to local appearances and record sales, new fans in Tasmania, brazil, England and cities throughout U.S. have found him through the Internet. He says he has no idea what leads people to his site, just that they somehow "find the music."
Finding the music is a theme that describes more than his record sale, however. It's the perfect theme for what Peter does through and because of his art. His work/life balance philosophy fuels the passion that drives him to create. Often, it helps others around him find their music.
"I had a friend at work who was diagnosed with cancer, so I wrote a song for her called 'Beth's Journey,' and dedicated it to her on the album. I kept encouraging her to take piano lessons, something she'd always wanted to do. Then one day in remission, she just did it. She learned to play. sadly she eventually slipped back into cancer and died, but almost until the end she was learning to play music on the piano.
Peter has also been inspired by friends having babies, an wrote a song for his mother, saying it was important to him that she understood he "did that for her" while she was alive.
To be able to create and music that makes people cry, laugh or dance is a real gift," he says. "It makes me want to pursue my music with a vengeance."
It's worth checking out his web site to get the latest schedule of appearances. Though music may only be a part-time gig, this is a band that has been perfecting its craft for nearly 20 years. "We're as professional a band as anyone you'd see in any formal concert venue," he says, "We may not do this full time but we certainly do it with a full heart."
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