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Improv Notes: August 2011


IMprov Notes:
News of the Moment
August 2011

Nuit Blanche
Saturday, September 10

Nuit Blanche
proudly returns for its second year with an all new, all-night line up

The streets of downtown Guelph will once again be teeming with creative energy, as the Guelph Jazz Festival’s Nuit Blanche is poised to make its triumphant return! The inaugural event was an unbridled success with over 60 additional performances to the Festival’s 2010 artistic program. With the generous support of Celebrate Ontario and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the all-night venture has been propelled into an annual undertaking. 
On Saturday September 10th, from dusk until dawn, downtown Guelph and the surrounding area will be transformed into a surreal performative and artistic space. Showcasing a diverse and eclectic program, which spans multiple mediums and genres, including film, dance, music, installations, and everything in between, this year's event is sure to surprise, entertain and surely inspire. The best part is that most of Nuit Blanche is free, so make sure to check out what is surely one of Canada's most exiciting all-night musical festivities featuring all sorts of multi-media interventions with jazz and improvisation at their core.

Check out this year's exciting all-night lineup.

New to the research collection

Improvising Virtual Memory Boxes

“Improvising Virtual Memory Boxes” was a research project co-ordinated by a team of researchers from the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP) research project in Guelph, Canada, working with researchers from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. It was designed and facilitated by Rebecca Caines, John Campbell and Nicholas Loess, all from ICASP, and QUT researcher Bree Hadley. The project aimed to explore the relationship between memory, improvisation, and technology. Researchers were interested in how memories can be collectively created, improvised, and archived, and how humans and technology interact in the process of memory creation and preservation. The project took place in two cities, Guelph, Ontario, and Utrecht, the Netherlands in 2011.

“Down at the crossroads, where poetry and music meet, strange things are happening every day" -Aldon Nielsen

“i cover the hands of Duke who like Satchmo / like Nat (King) Cole will never die/ because love they say/ never dies”
–Jayne Cortez

Don't miss this year's incredible Colloquium:

The Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium is one of the few events in North America to combine a scholarly colloquium with a music festival. Co-presented with the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project (ICASP), the colloquium offers a stimulating mix of panels and keynote addresses by top scholars along with eclectic workshops and concerts featuring Festival artists. 
Keynote speaker Jayne Cortez will deliver her address entitled “Find Your Own Voice and Use It.” 
Aldon Lynn Nielsen will deliver his keynote speech entitled “Meeting over Yonder”: Parker, Baraka, Mayfield.

Both promise to be exciting, dynamic and informative presentations.

Further, Kevin McNeilly will be reading from his new book of poetry, Embouchure, with an improvised musical accompaniment. On Friday, September 9th, Daniel Fischlin (School of English and Theatre Studies, Guelph) will be conducting an onstage interview with Henry Threadgill.   
Improv Notes was initially distributed in 2008 as a quarterly newsletter. The ICASP team is happy to announce that the newsletter is back in action and will be distributed once a month. If you have anything improvisation related that you would like to have included in the newsletter, please send an email to:

The international Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project explores musical improvisation as a model for social change. The project plays a leading role in defining a new field of interdisciplinary research to shape political, cultural, and ethical dialogue and action.

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This Month's Featured Artist:

Esmerine (Québec)

Esmerine was formed a decade ago by cellist Rebecca Foon and percussionist Bruce Cawdron, two members of the scene associated with Constellation Records (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion, etc.).  Esmerine plays, as they call it, "modern chamber music."  In recent years, the group has expanded to include harpist Sarah Pagé and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Barr, whom Foon and Cawdron met through their joint work with the extraordinary singer-songwriter, Lhasa de Sela.  In the wake of Lhasa's tragically early death from breast cancer, the revamped Esmerine has crafted a musical eulogy for and celebration of her life, La Lechuza (Constellation), a delicate and compassionate tribute to one of the treasures of Canadian music. Make sure to check them out, as Nuit Blanche headliners, this year at the Guelph Jazz Festival on Saturday September 10th at 11:30 at the Guelph Youth Music Centre.

Click the link below to read more about Esmerine and to listen to some of their groundbreaking and beautiful music:

Icasp proudly announces three Postdoctoral Fellows for 2011-2012

Sara Villa is an ICASP Postdoctoral fellow at CREUM Universite' de Montreal with a research project focused on the influence of jazz improvisatory practices on the Beat Generation poetics. In 2008-2010 she was a research fellow in a joint program between Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies and the University of Milan, where she received her PhD in 2008. She is the translator into Italian of Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954, and the editor of a forthcoming collection of Kerouac’s jazz writings. She has published articles on Virginia Woolf, Anglo-American Cinema and Jack Kerouac, and she collaborates with the jazz magazines All About Jazz, All About Jazz Italia and Musica Jazz. Her main interests are focused on the poetics and politics of gender, and on the relationship between contemporary British and American literature and the other arts, particularly film and jazz music.

Mark Laver is an ICASP Post-Doctoral Fellow, based at the University of Guelph. His work is forthcoming or published in several academic and non-academic journals, including Popular Music, Critical Studies in Improvisation, SAGAR,Discourses, The Recorder, and Canadian Musician. He completed his PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto. His dissertation research (funded by a Joseph Armand Bombardier scholarship from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council) focused on the use of jazz in advertising. Mark is also a busy working saxophonist, and has performed with leading jazz and improvising musicians such as Lee Konitz, Phil Nimmons, NEXUS, Dong Won Kim, and Eddie Prévost.

Mark V. Campbell is an ICASP Postdoctoral Fellow with the University of Guelph engaged in a project which interrogates the relationships between turntablism, improvisation and consumption in late capitalism.  Mark’s research interests include Afrodiasporic theory and culture, Canadian hip hop cultures, Afrosonic innovations and youth community development projects. In 2010 Mark curated T-Dot Pioneers, his first exhibition on the history of Toronto hip hop culture.  Mark has been DJing for the past fifteen years, and has experimented with sound art and digital production. Mark’s recent publications include; “Other/ed” kinds of Blackness: An Afrodiasporic Versioning of Black Canada; “Connect the T.Dots – Remix Multiculturalism: After Caribbean-Canadian, Social Possibilities for Living with Difference”; and “Remixing the Social: Pursuing Social Inclusion through Music Education”.

 Call for Papers:
The Art and Politics of Irony

12-14 April 2012 | Montréal, QC

An interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, in collaboration with Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (SSHRC-MCRI), the Centre de recherche en éthique de l’Université de Montreal and the Département d’études anglaises, Université de Montréal

Keynote Speaker
Shoshana Felman (Emory University)

Call for papers

“The ironist does not have the new within his power . . . he destroys the given actuality by the given actuality itself.” Søren Kierkegaard

Irony makes the world new by putting the world that exists in question. Its strength lies in its destabilizing power—it is the politics of art, the art of politics, and the language of dissent. By enabling critical representations of the world as it is known, but from within and against the familiarity of our own expectations, irony gives art and discourse special kinds of access to the public sphere, especially by mining beneath the given, the actual, and the known.

In politics, philosophy, art and literature, across post-modernism, post-colonialism, and globalization, the question of irony is of expanding relevance to a range of fields of cultural formation and inquiry. Yet it remains insufficiently noticed, understood, or theorized; ironically powerful and silent at once.  What is the meaning of irony? Conference organizers invite proposals for papers addressing the public and public-making function of irony across time and through a range of contexts and media. Disciplines may include but are not limited to: Architecture and Design; Art History; Classics; Film; Fine Arts; Gender and Sexuality; History; Law; Literature; Media and Communications; Musicology and Music Performance; Philosophy; Politics; Theatre and Performance

Proposals for complete panels as well as for individual papers in English or French are welcome. Researchers are invited to submit paper abstracts of 250 words and brief (2 page) cvs to: Deadline for submissions: 30 September 2011

Registration fees:  $100 Faculty; $50 Students (Fees will be waived for students at McGill University and the Université de Montréal.)

Improvisation implies a deep connection between the personal and the communal, self and world. A “good” improviser successfully navigates musical and institutional boundaries and the desire for self-expression, pleasing not only herself but the listener as well.

– Rob Wallace