Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 02, 2004

U of G hosts jazz colloquium, launches online journal on improvisation

The University of Guelph is hosting a free jazz colloquium Sept. 8 to 10 at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre to coincide with the 11th annual Guelph Jazz Festival. Keynote speakers are legendary African-American saxophonist, playwright and educator Archie Shepp and poet, playwright, scholar and activist Amiri Baraka. On the opening day of the colloquium, U of G will also launch an online peer-reviewed academic journal on improvisation at a 5:30 p.m. reception at the art centre. All events are free and open to the public.

“I’m thrilled this journal is being launched in conjunction with the Guelph Jazz Festival,” said Ajay Heble journal co-editor, English professor and artistic director of the festival. “Critical Studies in Improvisation offers an intellectual forum for a developing field that recognizes both the esthetic and social implications of improvisational music: the oldest and most widespread of musical practices.” Co-editors are music professor Ellen Waterman and French professor Frédérique Arroyas.

The U of G Library provided the software to make the journal available online, said Heble. Library staff Doug Horne, Wayne Johnston, George Loney and Helen Salmon supplied the technical and information management expertise.

The colloquium, titled “Jazz Voices Talking Back,” will feature panel discussions and performances showcasing artistic experiences that involve vocality. More than 20 speakers from across Canada and the United States will address topics ranging from “Scat, or the Cultural Politics of Vocality” to “Voices of Struggle: Identity and Self-Representation.”

Baraka will deliver a keynote address on “Blue Jazz Ladies of Music” Sept. 8 at 4:15 p.m. His pioneering book Blues People marked the first publication of an African-American’s writing about black music. His best-known play, the Obie Award-winning Dutchman, poignantly addressed broader issues facing African-Americans in the critical early years of the civil rights movement.

Shepp will present “African Diaspora in the New World” Sept. 11 at noon at the Bookshelf Cinema on Quebec Street. As well as being an accomplished musician since the 1960s, he is a music history professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has collaborated musically with Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef.

A three-time recipient of the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for the Arts, the Guelph Jazz Festival is dedicated to promoting and celebrating world-class jazz and creative improvised music in a festive community atmosphere.

The colloquium is sponsored by the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the College of Arts, the School of Fine Art and Music, the School of English and Theatre Studies, the office of the associate vice-president (student affairs) and the Central Student Association.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit or call (519) 763-4952.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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