Skip to Content

Things That You Hope a Human Being Will Be

things that you hope a human being will be by 2011 Improviser-in-Residence Jane Bunnett; videos by Dawn Matheson; edited by Ajay Heble and Alissa Firth-Eagland

The Video Art of Sylvia Safdie

ICASP proudly presents a special book production with an included DVD documenting the exceptional experiences of the 2011 Improviser-in-Residence program with Jane Bunnett.

Jane Bunnett visited Guelph in 2011 as the inaugural Improviser-in-Residence, co-presented by the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project (ICASP) and Musagetes. She developed a rich tapestry of musical events and workshops with several communities in a way that expanded the audience's experiences with music and engaged their creative selves. This publication shares her work in Guelph through an introduction by Shawn Van Sluys, an interview with Ajay Heble, a text and four videos by Dawn Matheson, an essay by David Lee, and photos by Thomas King. This publication with accompanying DVD captures the warmth and generosity of spirit that Bunnett shared with Guelph during her time in residency.

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, Bunnett has established a significant fan base in Guelph through her performances at the Guelph Jazz Festival.

Commenting on having Bunnett as the first Improviser-in-Residence, Ajay Heble, Artistic Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival and Project Director for ICASP, said that “an innovative and creative practitioner of the calibre of Bunnett strengthens ICASP’s commitment to diversity and collaboration, and furthers the project’s continued promotion of improvisation and dynamic exchange across cultural, communal, and musical lines. It is truly an honour to have Jane Bunnett join the ICASP team.”

Video of Jane Bunnett's conversation with Ajay Heble, featured in the volume, is also available as part of our research collection.

The multimedia volume was launched and distributed at the 2011 Guelph Jazz Festival. The volume is available in the ICASP offices at the University of Guelph.

So one of the things that improvisation has come to mean in the context of highly technological performance is that improvisation is the last claim to the legitimate presence of a human in the performance of music.

– Bob Ostertag