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Jane Bunnett

On February 11, 2011, ICASP Project Director Ajay Heble sat down with Toronto-based soprano saxophonist, flutist, and bandleader Jane Bunnett for an interview in front of a live audience at the Guelph Public Library for a session of Thinking Spaces: the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice Reading Group. Earlier that day, Jane had participated in a series of unannounced public interventions during which she and two other musicians (Rob Wallace and Amadeo Ventura) had walked into Guelph cafés, libraries, and a downtown bookstore with their musical instruments in hand. Handing out sundry percussion instruments to passersby and encouraging participation from her (sometimes captivated, sometimes bewildered) accidental audiences, Jane and her fellow animators transformed these public spaces, which, for a few moments, unexpectedly came alive with the spirit, spark, and sense of creative community-making that so often characterizes improvised music. These interventions were the first in a series of public events to showcase Jane Bunnett’s role as our inaugural year long Improviser in Residence, a new initiative made possible through a partnership between the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project and Musagetes. In the interview, Ajay and Jane had a wide-ranging conversation focusing on Jane’s impressive body of work, her plans for the year long residency, the social force or improvised forms of creative practice, and the characteristics that define a good improvising musician: in Jane’s words, “that the person listens when you’re playing with them, the person is generous, the person is supportive. All these things that you hope a human being will be will come out in the musical activity."

Please enjoy this energized, elucidating conversation, and the chance to listen to a rarely-heard, unreleased piece composed by Jane and inspired by the natural music of Ontario's Algonquin Park. You can also read a full transcript here.

“Things that you hope a human being will be”: Jane Bunnett in conversation with Ajay Heble

Listening itself, an improvisative act engaged in by everyone, announces a practice of active engagement with the world, where we sift, interpret, store and forget, in parallel with action and fundamentally articulated with it ("Mobilitas Animi" 113).

– George E. Lewis