Artistic creativity is magical but not magic.
~ Charles Limb
Charles Limb is a head and neck surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and a member of the faculty of Peabody Conservatory of Music at The Johns Hopkins University; trained as a jazz musician, he composes and plays piano, sax, and bass—and, as you'll see toward the end of the video below, he can do a mean rap, too.
Practicing medicine and music with a passion, Limb brings his knowledge of both to bear on his fascinating research into how our brains create and perceive music. Recently, using functional MRI technology (fMRI) for neural imaging, Limb has been working with professional jazz musicians and hip hop and rap artists to learn what parts of the brain are involved in producing the kind of creativity that takes place during improvisation. He's especially interested in uncovering the neurological bases for music as expressive communication.
In his 16-minute TEDTalk, Limb discusses some of his research and the implications of its results for understanding creativity of all kinds. He's careful to note that the "science" of innovation is in its infancy and that questions about how creativity works, what creative genius is, and how to best study creativity scientifically still outnumber answers.
An interesting interview with Limb is here. Another, with TED, is here. Limb was the subject of these Peabody Magazine features, "The Science of Improv" and "Music on the Mind", and also discusses his work in this Hopkins Medicine video feature.
Brain Images of Creativity
Explanation of Limb's Creativity Research (how conducted and results)