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Carleton University

Summer 2007: Graduate Research Assistant
Jesse Stewart is a percussionist, improviser, composer, visual artist, instrument builder, researcher, and writer. As a musician, he works primarily in the areas of jazz, new music, and free improvisation. He has performed with George Lewis, Roswell Rudd, Evan Parker, Bill Dixon, William Parker, Pauline Oliveros, Joe Mcphee, and many others. After majoring in both visual art and in music as an undergraduate student, he went on to complete two Master of Arts degrees concurrently at York University in Toronto: one in ethnomusicology and another in music composition. Much of his creative work crosses disciplinary boundaries, re-imagining the territory between the visual and the sonic arts. His research interests include improvisation, hip hop, turntablism, jazz, and African American expressive culture more generally.

Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.