How does the mind create new and useful things? Recent research suggests that cognitive abilities, such as intelligence and executive functions, are important to everyday creativity and artistic performance. This talk will explore both general creativity—creative metaphor production—and artistic creativity—jazz improvisation quality, and consider the relation of such behaviors to individual differences in cognitive ability. The study of creative metaphor production offers a new approach to understanding the processes underlying general creativity; the study of jazz improvisation offers an applied perspective on the role of general abilities in artistic performance. The relationship between general creativity and artistic ability will also be discussed.