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ICASP Newsletter June 2011


IMprov Notes:
News of the Moment
June 2011

Community Sound [E]scapes

"I am absolutely delighted that the Canada Council for the Arts has funded this exciting new partnership between Ed Video, ICASP and the Don Snowden program. The grant will enable us to build new connections with Northern Ontario organizations, artists and residents and we look forward to working with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Northern Chiefs Council to develop a new media sound art project which best suits their diverse communities"
(Rebecca Caines, Project Facilitator).

Community Sound [e]Scapes Northern Ontario will bring together a team of emerging and established new media artists from Ed Video (, and Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice in Guelph, working with our partner the Don Snowden Program ( to collaborate with First Nations community members in Northern Ontario, in the area served by the Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) council. The team will create a new media sound and video art project based on exploring a sense of place and community. This project follows on the success of ICASP's Community Sound [e]Scapes programs working with the University of Guelph and the da Vinci high school program (Guelph area), the Ballybeen youth program (Northern Ireland) and the Woolgoolga senior bicycle group (Australia) in 2009, and the successful launch of the Community Sound [e]Scapes website and improvised sound art mixer, the eScaper, at the Guelph Jazz Festval Colloquium in 2010. ( The artists from Guelph will work with local artists and community members in Northern Ontario on a  number of workshops in audio recording and microphone use, sound editing, and sound art composition and improvisation, producing sound art pieces that reflect the unique Northern Ontario landscape and the rich culture of the KO communities. "Keewaytinook Okimakanak, or Northern Chiefs in Oji-Cree, is a non-political Chiefs Council serving Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake, North Spirit Lake and Poplar Hill First Nations. The Council provides health, education, economic development, employment assistance, legal, public works, finance, research, clean water, cellular, administration and computer communication services." (KO website)

In other news: Postdoctoral Fellow for the ICASP project (2009-2011), Dr. Rebecca Caines received a position as the Assistant Professor in Creative Technologies in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Regina. It is a new interdisciplinary position bridging the strands of Music, Theatre, Media and Visual Arts. Her area of specialization will be Sound Art. Please congratulate Dr. Rebecca Caines on a position well deserved!

New to the research collection:

Improvising Virtual Memory Boxes: a project exploring the relationship between memory, improvisation, and technology.

"Nassau St. Sessions": On April 6, 2010 the WoodChopper's Association led by Dave Clark met up with Cuban pianist Glenda Del Monte for a free improvisation intercultural collision. The Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP), MCRI project at the University of Guelph as well as a City of Toronto INCUBATE grant supported the day-long event, which also produced an extended video interview with Dave Clark (with a short oral history of the Woodchoppers) and performance footage, all filmed by Steve Sladkowski (ICASP research associate).

Ikons: sound and sculpture installation by George Lewis & Eric Metcalfe.

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:


This Month's Featured Artist:
Jane Bunnett

Photo Credit: Tom King

Since January 2011, Jane Bunnett has been involved with the ICASP project as the first Improviser-in-Residence: a yearlong collaboration, including a series of dynamic workshops. The Improviser-in-Residence program is a collaborative partnership with Musagetes. Jane Bunnett, a Toronto-based soprano saxophonist, flutist, and bandleader, is a multiple Juno Award winner, most recently honoured with an appointment to the Order of Canada. Bunnett is known for her creative veracity and her improvisational and courageous artistry. She has captivated critics and fans alike with her bands, showcasing some of the finest Canadian, American, and Cuban musicians in jazz today. Her live performance projects and groundbreaking records express the universal appeal of her music: creative explorations of Afro-Cuban melodies that embrace the rhythms and culture of Cuba, inspired advancements to avant-garde jazz and modern compositions, and an interest in traditional spirituals and gospels. An innovator who has built a career at the intersection between Cuban and jazz music, twice nominated for Grammy awards, and the Urban Music Award winner for Best Global Recording in 2003 for her record Cuban Odyssey, Jane Bunnett is an excellent addition to ICASP, and to the Guelph community. Bunnett is well known and liked in Guelph for her innovative and exciting performances at the Guelph Jazz Festival.

Check out her website to read more and hear some of Bunnett's fantastic music:

ICASP Executive Member Kevin McNeilly releases debut collection of poetry, Embouchure

Kevin McNeilly, ICASP Co-investigator, University of British Columbia Site Coordinator and a member of the ICASP Executive Committee, has released his debut poetry collection, Embouchure. Embouchure compiles the intertwined lineages of trumpet players who came to prominence in the States during the “pre-bop” era, loosely defined as the period between 1890 and 1939. Within the course of Embouchure’s thirty-seven portraits, Buddy, Satch, Bix, Jabbo, Cootie, Cat and the rest are resurrected in their smoky, brassy, sepia-toned glory as figures deeply steeped in their own mythos.

"McNeilly’s poetry is lyrical, free, down-to-the-bone, as real, fresh, and immediate as true jazz always is. Embouchure is where your mouth is, where your ear is, and where your eyes are right on time. Damn!" –George Elliott Clarke

Get your copy today: Embouchure

La J'etais - Live photo-essay by Nicholas Loess (June 24th)

Friday, June 24 · 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre
358 Gordon Street (at College Avenue) | Guelph, ON

As a part of concluding his secondary area of study for his PhD, Nicholas Loess (Murphy) has produced a live, photographic essay comprised of intertitles, and film and video stills, exploring the aesthetic boundaries between visual representation, aural improvisation, fiction, and the documentary form. Acclaimed improvisers Mark Zurawinski (percussion), Germaine Liu (percussion), Taylor Moran (electro-acoustics) and Ben Grossman (hurdy gurdy) will perform the simultaneous roles of audience member and sound provider for the piece. The impetus for this project is part-experiment, part-hommage. Next year will mark fifty years since the release of Chris Marker's cine-roman 'La j'etee'. A film that explored the prickly side of memory through still image. Loess takes the other side of Marker's homophone (la j'etais), utilizing lomographic and videographic textures to incorporate some of Marker's ideas with his visuals. The performance will be followed by a brief essay, and mingling.

Visit the facebook page: La j'etais (There, I was)

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...the innovative working models of improvisation developed by creative practitioners have helped to promote a dynamic exchange of cultural forms, and to encourage new, socially responsive forms of community building across national, cultural, and artistic boundaries.

– Ajay Heble