Tag Archives: Improvisation

Episode #60: David Lee – Improvisation in Toronto 1960 – 1985

Why do so many young people uproot themselves and move to the city, searching for culture? What is it that they are looking for? How does their search shape what they find? These are some of the questions that frame this discussion with improviser and scholar, David Lee. David Lee was part of a community of improvising musicians located in Toronto Ontario during the 70s and 80s; he is now completing a dissertation which takes up that history through the critical lens that academic rigour demands. Enjoy this fascinating chat about the places of renewal in creative communities.

This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM on May 23, 2017 at 5pm.

Episode #59: Improvising Hospitality with Francesco Paradiso

Have you every had someone over to your house, as a guest? Did you spend much time thinking about the ethics of the situation? Of hospitality? In his later work, founding deconstructionist Jacques Derrida turned toward the concept of hospitality as a way to face questions about our ability to engage ethically with alterity, or otherness. In combination with the work of Emmanuel Levinas about our primordial responsibility towards others when confronted with, in particular, their face, Francesco Paradiso brings Derrida’s ideas about hospitality to bear on group improvisation in this talk that cumulates a week’s worth of research as our guest at the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, here at the University of Guelph.

Dr. Francesco Paradiso is a Research Assistant at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK. He completed his PhD in 2014 at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph Ontario on May 2, 2017 at 5pm. Sound It Out is produced, hosted, and edited by Rachel Elliott.

Episode #57 -Being There for the Duration: Sarah Kitz, David Dacks, and Nick Fraser

The philosopher Alfred Schütz points to a ‘mutual tuning-in relationship’ at the foundation of all possible communication. In this episode of Sound It Out we ask you to consider this theme in an audio journey through the Somewhere There creative music festival in Toronto. Explore how relationships of collaborative co-creation occur not only between performers on stage, but also between performers and their audience, as well between musicians considered from a larger angle: what does it take on an arts managerial level to entrench the relationships of inclusivity, exchange, and relationship forged on stage? That is, how do you make these musical relationships last and feed the other points of contact and engagement? Hear discussions with theatre creator Sarah Kitz, drummer and composer Nick Fraser, and a talk by veteran music advocate David Dacks.

This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario on Tuesday February 28th at 5pm.

Episode #55: Ghanaian Producers as Improvising Composers: Appietus & DJ Breezy

Lyricists and vocalists and often considered to be the ‘real artists’ in contrast with the activities of the producers they work with. In an article published in the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisationLeila Adu-Gilmore challenges this conception of the producer, arguing that their process amounts to music creation in the form of improvised composition. Today hear an intimate reading performed by me of Adu-Gilmore’s paper entitled “Studio Improv as Compositional Process Through Case Studies of Ghanaian Hiplife and Afrobeats.” The reading of the paper is intellectually stimulating, and the examples of the music discussed in it, by Appietus and DJ Breezy respectively, kinetically irresistible: I dare you not to dance!

This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM, Guelph’s campus and community radio station on Tuesday January 17th, 2016, at 5pm.

comments welcome: twitter @Cs_walk_with_me

 

Episode #53 – Jenny Mitchell and Iris Fraser: Brother Frank on a Golden Bus

There are stories, songs, even full movies, woven into the places where we live our lives. Jenny Mitchell and Iris Fraser-Gudrunas were coming-of-age sidekicks entering Toronto’s DIY art scene in the mid-2000s. Themselves gifted and perspicacious creators of music and multi-disciplinary art, their respective trajectories found them seeking out the stories and symbolism in the surrounding rural environments. Hear how Iris Fraser-Gudrunas used improvisation to make Brother Frank, a filmic response to an encounter with a monk on the Niagara Peninsula – part of a self-implicating exploration of the tactility of craftmanship. Jenny Mitchell tells the rollicking tale of her Golden Bus, which she uses as a mobile venue and sound production studio offering a place-responsive platform for the expression of locally embedded narrative arts. Tune-in as Iris Fraser-Gudrunas’ film Brother Frank is screened on Jenny Mitchell’s Golden Bus!

This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario, Tuesday December 6, 2015.

Episode #50 – Great Lakes as Productive Constraint: Composing Improvisation with Sonic Perfume

Four improvising composers, five great lakes: go. Phil Albert (Bass) and Patrick O’Reilly (Guitar) of Ontario meet with Patrick Booth (Saxophone) and Jon Taylor (Percussion) of Michigan for an intensive, week-long string of performances that embrace improvisation as much as composition. Hear the band discuss composition as a long-form improvisation (and the inverse!), staring down the monument (i.e. facing their recorded music as an autonomous object), and the urgency their regional dispersion gives to their playing when they get together, accentuating the vertiginous ‘now’ at the heart of all improvisation.

This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario at 5pm on Tuesday October 25, 2016.

Episode #48 – Honouring Ken Aldcroft

Spend the next hour bathing in the peaceful guitar sounds of improvising guitarist and musical community builder Ken Aldcroft. Co-founder of the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto, the Leftover Daylight Series, the NOW Series, and serving on the board of the Somewhere There musicians’ collective, Ken Aldcroft’s sudden passing on September 17th, 2016 put Canada’s creative music world into a cloud of stunned sadness. Read more about this intrepid musician at http://www.kenaldcroft.com/

This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM at 5pm on Tuesday September 27, 2016.

Episode #45 – Jazz Buddhists and Improvisatist Giving with Tracy McMullen

The list of jazz innovators who described Buddhism as central to their music and personal purpose is long – Ernestine Anderson, Herbie Hancock, Buster Williams, Richard Davis, Hamid Drake, and Terri Lyne Carrington are just a few. In this episode, Prof. Tracy McMullen discusses the implications of jazz buddhism on how we think about Black Critical Praxis, which, she contends, has been too caught up in the politics of recognition and the performative vision of the subject, as described by theorists such as Judith Butler with a basis in Hegel’s dialectic of self-consciousness. In this energetic and inspiring discussion, Mullen considers the history of jazz as Black Critical Praxis to recommend an improvisatist account of the subject over the widely accepted performative view. Hear songs from Ernestine Anderson and Herbie Hancock.

This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM at 6pm on Monday September 12, 2016.

Episode #42 – Improvising Electronics with Gambletron

When you look at the mess of equipment in front of electronic musical experimenter Lisa Gamble, your head can start to swim. The mystery of musicianship is always apparent when you observe an instrument not being played. By what sorcery will they coax this object into music? We wonder this about even the most straightforward instruments. The magic in the encounter between the musician and her instruments is the theme of Lisa Gamble’s approach to making wicked glitchy beats out of odd and old adapted electronics. Gamble’s educated-guess, trial-and-error attitude eschews attempts to control or master instruments; she explores and responds, leaving them the autonomy be surprising. The result is fresh, energetic, and often, danceable. This conversation with Lisa Gamble originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM Guelph’s community radio station on July 19, 2016. 

Episode #38 – Music Ontology with Eric Lewis

This conversation with philosopher Eric Lewis of McGill University centres around the question ‘what is music’, or more specifically, ‘what is improvised music?’ Prof. Lewis explains why a consideration of improvised music can re-frame some of the questions traditionally associated with the philosophical study of music, such as how a musical work is related ontologically to a score or composition, and its associated performances. Lewis discusses his proposal to revive intentionalism in aesthetics, making the, I think, highly appetizing suggestion that we ought to think of improvised music according to the vagaries of the representational visual arts, not via the overblown concepts on offer by traditional music ontology. This episode originally aired on CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph Ontario on April 12, 2016, at 5pm.