U of G Hosts Annual Jazz Colloquium

September 01, 2009 - News Release

Top scholars and community experts will discuss the influence of improvisation on how music is performed and funded during the annual Guelph Jazz Festival colloquium Sept. 9 to 11 at the University of Guelph.

The colloquium, which is free and open to the general public, includes workshops, lectures, performances and panel discussions. It runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, with most events taking place at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre.

“The Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium is the only scholarly event of its kind attached to a major jazz festival in Canada,” said Ajay Heble, a U of G English professor and the festival’s artistic director.

The colloquium provides a scholarly forum for dialogue among researchers, creative practitioners, arts presenters, journalists and members of the general public, Heble said. This year's colloquium features more than 100 participants from 13 different countries.

Highlights include two keynote talks Friday. Acclaimed cultural and African-American historian Robin Kelley, a professor at the University of Southern California, will speak at 9:15 a.m. He’ll discuss civic engagement and visionary politics. Kelley studies black working-class history and the history of black radicalism. He also is a regular commentator on contemporary black culture and politics.

At 2:15 p.m., legendary percussionist Milford Graves, a professor at Bennington College in Vermont, will talk about his groundbreaking research at the International Center for Medicinal and Scientific Studies. Graves researches percussion traditions from around the world and the relationship between music and healing.

New at this year’s colloquium is the RENDER DodoLab creative research initiative, a partnership with the Musagetes Foundation. This improvisational and interactive archival project will engage presenters and audience in a variety of experimental documentary and knowledge-sharing projects.

As well, the Hearing-Visions-Sonores (Guelph Extension), a multimedia display of graphic scores, will be officially launched Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. during a reception at the McLaughlin Library.

The exhibit, on display at the library through Sept. 25, allows people to see and hear how improvisation plays a prominent role in the creation of music. Featured are scores from Guelph-area composers Germaine Liu (in collaboration with visual artist Nick Loess), Joe Sorbara, Jesse Stewart, and Scott Thomson, as well as several Quebec composers.

The launch will be preceded by a special roundtable discussion at 4:15 p.m. on “Graphic Scores/Structured Improvisation.” It will be followed by a 5 p.m. performance of a commissioned work that was collaboratively composed and will be performed by Guelph-area composers Germaine Liu, Joe Sorbara, and Jesse Stewart.

In addition, on the Sunday preceding the colloquium, the Guelph-based Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP) research project will screen its documentary AIMToronto. It’s about the association of improvising musicians of Toronto, an organization that brings together improvising musicians from that city’s various pockets. The documentary was produced by U of G graduate student Martin Eckart and post-doctoral researcher Rob Wallace. It will be screened Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. at SOMEWHERE THERE, 40 Dufferin Street, Toronto.

For media questions, contact Jean Burrows, public relations officer, Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53958, or jeanb@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1