Ellington and Coltrane: Tone Parallels
Following the release of Duke Ellington & John Coltrane in February of 1963, many critics noted the recording’s remarkable success despite the musicians’ seemingly disparate styles and directions. As the pair’s most public intersection the record serves as a starting point for an investigation of their musical and cultural parallels, particularly in regards to spirituality and social justice. Both chose creative responses to the emerging Civil Rights Movement rather than public commentary, illustrated later that same year by Ellington’s centennial celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation on My People and Coltrane’s recording of Alabama. In opting to lead by example, their work provided role models for communities beginning in the 1920s through the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. Despite very different trajectories, their careers concluded in similar moments of spiritual exploration. Ellington’s Sacred Concerts completed a discography that continually explored what Stanley Crouch describes as the blurred lines between the Saturday Night Function and Sunday morning’s Gospel reckoning. Mahalia Jackson’s wordless vocals on his 1958 Black, Brown, and Beige recording would influence Coltrane’s move towards phrases and eventually melodies motivated by speech, culminating with Psalm’s syllabic invocation on A Love Supreme. This paper intends to investigate such intersections and in particular the ways in which their extended works similarly address the communal African-American experience during pivotal social and cultural moments.
Jazz Education in the Lion City: Building a Jazz programme in Singapore, a bridge too far? Singapore having emerged as an economic powerhouse in the 80’s and 90’s, and as a young nation of 60 plus years, is now evolving quickly in terms of its cultural identity. Educational and Cultural institutions have risen on this economic stability including the creation of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory at the National University of Singapore, the School of the Arts – Singapore’s first and only pre-tertiary specialised arts school, and the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay – Singapore’s national performing arts venue. However, and particularly since the Financial Crisis of 2007-8, Jazz in Singapore has faced significant economic challenges for its survival in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Currently, for example, there are no dedicated Jazz venues in Singapore for musicians to present their work.
From an educational perspective, Jazz faces challenges regarding the dearth of Jazz education programmes or even broader exposure to students at high school level and its broader acceptance within Singapore’s multicultural society. However, since the turn of the century, more and more young and talented Jazz musicians have nevertheless been surfacing. Some of the elite have had the means to further their practice, by being able to live, and study abroad in New York, and come back to contribute to the local jazz community. Moreover, and importantly, the first degree in jazz performance in Singapore was established at LASALLE College of the Arts by the Melbourne expatriate saxophonist Dr. Tim O’Dwyer in 2005.
Dr. O’Dwyer will talk about his experience in building a Jazz programme within the Singapore milieu and describe the challenges, successes, and the impact of the programme on the practice of jazz in the wider community in the Lion City.
‘What’s New?’: Contingency as an agent of change in improvisation and composition This paper investigates the connections between contingency, or the action of chance and indeterminism, in improvisation (and it’s associated relationships with composition), and proposes contingency as a driver of new ideas, new interactions, new sounds, new perceptions.
Drawing on the history and practices of the Experimental Music movement in the 1950s (Nyman 1999) and including the jazz tradition as essential in the experimental debate (Lewis 1996), I investigate the potential of contingent elements present in improvised music making: elements that are beyond the full control of the composer and/or the musicians, and/or the audience.
My research investigates these elements within the practice of three stylistically differing case studies: the ‘beyond free jazz’ work of pianist/composer Satoko Fujii (Japan), ‘minimalism meets jazz’ work of drummer/composer John Hollenbeck with the Claudia Quintet (US), and the acousmatic and spectral music practices of the prepared instrument quartet Dans Les Arbres (Norway and France).
Cross-referencing the outcomes of these practices against texts by Piekut (2014), Priest, (2013), Kane (2014), Gottschalk (2016), Tenney (2014), Lacy (2006), Bailey (1993), and others, I contend that contingency is a potent force in music making.
What I have termed the Experimental Composition Improvisation Continuum (ECIC) views the relationships between the contingent (experimental) and compositional and improvisational elements in music making as being in flux: flowing between differing degrees of engagement.
The ECIC offers a way to position work beyond genre and to acknowledge the contribution of elements within it, ‘the outcome of which is [are] not fully known’ (John Cage).
John Mackey ANU – Extended Application of the Pentatonic Scale
This research focusses on the development of improvisatory vocabulary, utilizing the chromatic application of pentatonic scale structures, in permutated formations to create blended line construction. This new modal concept encompasses the relationship and weightings of consonant versus dissonant note choices to form an improvised melody.
The Major Penta-Talvian Modal Concept (MPTMC), anagrammatic in design, is structured in such a way that the improviser can apply pentatonic structures in a graduated fashion. The modal concept involves the superimposition of pentatonic scale structures over a chord to create interest. The concept is designed to allow practitioners to develop at their own pace and aural aesthetic. This practice system uses the symmetry and natural melodic nature of
the pentatonic to apply varied levels of consonant and dissonant note choices. The modal concept can be applied in a random fashion or in a more mathematical way.
One can also define the MPTMC as a pentatonic system that is applied in a series of stages, exploring a structured and layered approach to superimposing the pentatonic scale over a given chord. The system is designed around four specific options, giving the improviser various options of chromatic applications. The improviser decides how far away from the parent key they wish to venture.
Academic research is applied in many forms including, practice-led pedagogical systems, one on one lessons and performance practice through composition, live performance and recorded output.
Measuring the impact of these facets may be seen through the amount of practitioners, students and musicologists who embrace and utilize a concept.
My hope is to influence future generations of practitioners to consider this modal concept. My presentation will include an audio-visual pre-recorded studio session with a demonstration of the modal concept utilizing notated lines.
The application of the Tonnetz tonal map in a jazz composition practice
This presentation proposes to demonstrate how analytical approaches that emerge out of jazz research might be reapplied as creative compositional tools. Specifically, I will look at the Riemannian Tonnetz tonal grid and it’s application in the construction of harmony in a jazz context, demonstrating how research undertaken in the academy might be reapplied within a community of practice with novel results.
The Tonnetz tonal map is was first described by Leonhard Euler in 1739, and later explored by musicologist Hugo Reimann, as a way of visualising relationships between chords. It has been explored more recently by Neo-Riemannian theorists such as Richard Cohn and David Lewin, particularly in relation to late Romantic music, where harmonic function is stretched beyond traditional analytical understanding but remains ‘functionally coherent’ (Engebretsen & Broman, 2007). In recent years jazz theorists such as Steven Strunk and Guy Capuzzo have explored the Tonnetz map as a way of understanding jazz harmonic practice, particularly that which extends beyond traditional tonal functions.
Though there have been several analyses of jazz with regard to the Tonnetz and Neo- Riemannian theory (Briginshaw 2012, Park 2016) there is little exploration of how this analytical approach might be used creatively within jazz composition. In this paper I present an analysis of my composition ‘Stepping Stones’, composed in 2017, as a demonstration of how the Tonnetz tonal map might be used to construct harmonic progressions. Through the analysis I highlight the implications of this approach on harmonic relationships, phrasing and formal structures, as well as the potential for harmonic retrograde.
In discussing this work I aim to offer both insight into my compositional approach and the potential for the Tonnetz as a compositional tool. I also aim to demonstrate the potential for analytic tools that emerge in academic contexts to be applied within communities of practice.
Somatic Parameter Layering at the Drumset: Generative Processes adapted from Embodied Music Cognition
The emerging research field of embodied music cognition presupposes musical cognition and perception as activities “structured by the body situated in its environment” (Iyer 2002, 388-389). A notable subset of this domain are those projects examining the relationship between body and instrument, and how the affordances thereof can shape musical outcomes and aesthetics. While existing literature has analysed performance practice at the guitar (Bailey and Driver 1992), piano (Iyer 1998, 2002), and banjo (Rockwell 2009), there has been no such research conducted for the drumset. My project fills this gap, correlating academic research to aspects of pedagogical and professional practice, in doing so identifying two areas of drumset-specific embodied knowledge. First, an understanding of sticking cells as embodied knowledge encoded with specific rhythmic forms; and second, an original taxonomy for classifying types of individual and combined movement cycles as applied to the drumset. Furthermore, following a process-driven practice-led research model, these two are combined as variable parameters within an original generative process entitled somatic parameter layering, that I use to furnish musical outputs in the form of solo drumset pieces (video excerpts from which will be included in this presentation). In addition to the potential analytical and pedagogical benefits of such drum-set specific theory, through this process I hope to demonstrate the utility of applying an embodied music cognition paradigm to the creative practice of an improvising performer, regardless of instrument.
Making a Difference: more gigs, better pay.
The usual objectives for research into improvised music are related to scholarly parameters: to learn more about cultural history, to form a richer understanding of how, why and to what effects these musics represent forms of cultural production – as one whose research and publications are dominated quantitatively by this kind of work … mea culpa! Cultural theory is rarely far away in these endeavours and the more central it becomes the more likely it will be that working musicians will have their prejudices against ‘ivory towers’ confirmed. But there are ways in which such research can measurably, materially improve the conditions in which performers operate, actually generate more opportunities and higher returns. The problem is that it doesn’t happen very often. But I doubt that anyone has ever scored a gig by talking about Deleuze.
This paper will be untheoretically, bluntly pragmatic. It will narrate a case study in which there was a direct link between painstaking research and bringing material benefit to the working conditions of jazz (and other popular) musicians. Although the research and its deployment were mine, this is not simply to self-promote; as in all our research, we report findings arising in the course of our work. I learned several important lessons that I think are worth articulating. One was the disdain among my academic colleagues that I should not only want to make that link, but that I could. This in itself raises the question, ‘Why did I too have to overcome my own mild embarrassment about proposing this paper?’ Another lesson was that there are important ‘tricks’ to making the connection between jazz musician, academic and effective political lobbyist. They are simple, but necessary, if we, as researchers, want to answer the question ‘So What?’ in practical terms.
How does research undertaken in the academy feed back into communities of practice and how might this best be measured?
Research in the academy is generally conducted through the auspices of an educational institution: reviewed and evaluated by academics and accredited in terms of a formal structure of some kind. Research about jazz tends to be mainly about how improvisation serves as an analogy for non-artistic contexts or how the brain functions when musicians improvise. While both are interesting and worthwhile endeavours, neither is specifically related to jazz per se. Practically from the musician’s point of view, the only worthwhile research to be done is into either how she plays or what she plays. This study focuses on musicians who pursue research into their own work.
There is a growing body of evidence supporting an argument that universities are primarily concerned about the internal structural processes of research, evaluated by experts, rather than the outcomes, which are evaluated by personal satisfaction and/or market forces. As Chris Coady and Michael Webb put it:
Recent research on practice-based doctorates in Australia has revealed an institutional preference for ‘theorised’ research approaches aimed at situating studies of practice within established academic paradigms (Coady & Webb, 2017; 71)
The disturbing aspect this approach is evidenced in the case of an Australian university awarding a PhD on vaccination through its Arts faculty on the basis of its structure, while its Medical School decried its content. Analogies with research into music practice are obvious.
Based on the preliminary results of an on-going survey this paper hypothesises that research into jazz performance undertaken in the academy feeds back into communities of practice by way of the researchers’ own practice, which makes measurement of impact entirely subjective and therefore unverifiable. Without metrics and rubrics, what can be measured and what is the point of such measurement?
Dr Glen Hodges
Joining the Dots: Identifying why jazz and improvised music research with non-traditional outputs “means something”.
While research in areas such as the financial impact of the arts attract some funding and others of similar ilk are seen as useful or credible research outputs there are a number of image problems with most research into music practice. For the general public they include; it’s apparent disconnect from “everyday” issues; it’s supposed irrelevance to economic factors; it’s apparent lack of “scientific” or quantitative analytical methods and it’s perceived elitism.
In the academy, much of the traditional musicological research has tended to have a text or notational focus, which has given it a foundational validity by association with literary and other established text-based methodologies and dissemination paradigms.
The challenge for the field of jazz and improvised music research with non-traditional outputs is firstly to establish a credible and recognized foundation that does not require constant restatement but then to “join the dots” of the benefits to communities of practice and consumption as well as the wider impacts that benefit regional and national communities. While this should not require every research project to have as a major focus the explication of greater or concrete benefit we can’t just assume an air of entitlement to justify our relevance. Other music subcultures have tried this and the jig is up. To achieve support within and without the academy we need somehow to join the dots….
Perspectives in Dialogue: Research, practice and praxis
Research in the fields of jazz studies and improvisation over the past decade has increasingly sought to address the gap between performance based perspectives emanating from creative communities and the perspectives of scholars examining the social and cultural impact of these creative communities. The methods scholars have utilised in attempting to bring these different perspectives together and in so doing increase the degree to which creative community’s voices are represented in research have not yet received significant attention. In this paper, I present one such approach involving dialogical engagement with musicians in research related to jazz and improvisation. Drawing on my experiences as both an ethnomusicologist and double bass player researching jazz and improvisational practice, I suggest that one of the ways to ensure that research on jazz is representative of the perspectives and experiences of musicians in creative communities is to explicitly involve them in the process of both research and representation. Such a research approach has the capacity to bring to light new ways in which both research and creative communities can understand the musical and social meanings of jazz and its broader relevance to society.
Helen Russell and Bruce Woodward
Contemporary music students’ experiences of improvisation in the classroom.
The ability to improvise is at the core of the skillset of the contemporary popular musician. Beyond simply ‘taking a solo’, contemporary popular musicians often freely manipulate the elements of music during rehearsal and performance. Despite this widespread application of the practice, improvisation is rarely explored as a core part of the undergraduate experience in contemporary popular music program. More frequently, explicit instruction in and the sustained exploration of, improvisation remains a feature of jazz or improvised music programs. This research seeks to document the experiences of students in the final year of an undergraduate degree in contemporary popular music, as they encounter a semester- long course on improvisation – and explores questions about any perceived interrelationship between the study of improvising and other facets of musicianship.
The researchers work as full-time staff members in a regional Queensland university, teaching into a Bachelor of Creative Arts program (BCA). Students entering the BCA often
have little experience of improvising – many have developed their musicianship informally, or have been taught in pedagogical traditions that do not feature improvisation. Students in the BCA encounter a variety of musics during the course of the degree, though the focus of their music practice deals with contemporary popular music since 1950. As a result, students are often called on to improvise during performances. In order to support this, The study of improvisation appears in two music theory courses.
Using qualitative data collected from participant observation, questionnaire and unstructured interview, the researchers examine the students’ impressions of the improvisation course, their ideas about how improvisation plays a role in their practice, and their ideas of how the study of improvisation impacts their musicianship. As part of a study spanning several years, this paper reports on early themes that emerge from the initial data, and the experiences of the researchers.
Improvisation and Creativity: Emerging cross-cultural perspectives
While some form of improvisation is common to many musical systems around the world, it does not necessarily follow that it is always understood and practised in the same
way. Despite its currency in wide range of musicological contexts, there is really no universal agreement about what improvisation signifies in musical practice. This is perhaps due to the practice and experience of improvisation in any one cultural or musical context forming its own local universe of understanding. Attempts to apply an Indian Classical Music template to Western classical music or vice versa ultimately miss the point. Recently, Arabic, Persian and Indian musicians and theorists have made efforts to reclaim autochthonoustropes of creativity, or reject the term in favour of extant local terms and concepts.
This paper considers what shape a larger multi-voiced cultural narrative on musical creativity might take, and the consequences it might have on current and future discourses on improvisation.
Deleuze’s ontology of difference, has often been compared to improvisation. Refrains being deterritorialized and reterritorialized without a hierarchical structure is applauded for its freedom and propensity to create new connections between disparate musical
elements. Central to Deleuze’s philosophy is his concept of expression as a three-place relation, between an expression, its ontologically inseparable expressed which transforms what made the expression – the ‘expressor’. This is key for Deleuze because it describes what occurs in the actualisation of the virtual – a virtual potentiality is expressed in what is actualised (some expression).
This model of expression is easily applied to improvisation. There is a link between improvising and expressing (actualising) and between improvisation and expression. Improvising, an improviser creates an expression (improvisation) which
embodies an expressed, by deterritorializing and reterritorializing disparate
elements. Although subject to interpretation, what is expressed is a virtual potentiality as the immanent cause of the expression.
However, there seems to be two ways with which to take this notion of an ‘expressor’. On the one hand, it is the improviser, and what is expressed is the musical idea that the improviser will be said to have elaborated – not in the sense that it was a pre-conceived musical idea, but rather that the improviser actualised the virtual potentiality as the cause of the improvisation. On the other hand, what expresses itself in the expression are the forces of the cosmos, and what is expressed in the expression is a certain state of these forces. At the limit, of course, the improviser him/herself is a product of the forces of the cosmos, but we still want to talk about improvisation in musical as opposed to strictly metaphysical terms which yields the question, how much and what kind of intentionality is required to improvise.
Transferable Knowledge in Free Jazz
There is much literature on interaction, group improvisation and organisational improvisation in jazz and how these approaches relate to business and everyday life. This paper will position within this literature how free jazz does not have the restrictive nature of traditional jazz or indeed many other forms of improvisation allowing for distinctive approaches to indeterminacy and musical choices: choices that can are a unique psychological phenomenon and can inform many facets of everyday life. Further, this paper will make a case for understanding what happens within a free jazz improvisational setting and how it can act as transferable knowledge to other art-forms or just being. I plan to develop Graeme B. Wilson and Raymond A. R. MacDonald’s (2016) model of interactive choices made in free improvisation in combination with Keith Sawyer’s book, Explaining Creativity (2012). Sawyer explicates how creativity works as a mental process in which he proposes an eight-stage model and the transfer to other forms of musical improvisation and indeed, decisions we make as human beings.
What is this thing called collaboration?: Ethnography and the implications of music making as research
In this paper, I discuss some of the methodological issues at play when conducting participatory collaborative ethnographic research. Drawing on my work since 2011 as an ethnographer, composer, performer, and collaborator in jazz and electronic music scenes in the Republic of Macedonia, I grapple with concerns of positionality, power, and aesthetic hierarchies of taste as they inform and, in many ways, structure the collaborative relationships that play an essential role in my research. Over the last thirty or forty years, scholars in ethnomusicology and anthropology have been working through the ways that (and extent to which) communities, scenes, and institutions navigate the influence of ethnographers conducting research among them as participant-observers. Ethnographers, in turn, have recognized many of the ways in which their presence always plays a role in the shaping of their data and, thus, their research findings. When ethnographers are involved in collaborative music making, the sonic relations between collaborators provide insight not only into what is being negotiated in the collaborative production of sound, but also into why that matters in a particular scene. Focusing on two collaborations in Macedonia––one
with an electronic music DJ and one with a small group of improvising musicians––I engage with the anthropological/ethnomusicological literature on value as I consider the uneven stakes in such collaborations and the crooked and uneasy path for collaborative ethnographers as they, instead of retreading the highways of exploitative colonisation and imperialism, seek to open up new ways of knowing the world through sound.
Towards a Deep Net Improviser
My aim is to develop an interactive real-time post-tonal and post-metrical computational improviser using the category of neural nets termed deep nets. These are so called because they contain numerous computational nodes and layers, rather than necessarily being sophisticated; though they may be! Two modest-sized symbolic corpora of post-tonal and post-metrical keyboard music have been constructed, one algorithmic, the other improvised. Deep learning models of each have been trained and largely optimised. The purpose is to obtain a model with sufficient generalisation capacity that in response to a small quantity of separate fresh input seed material, it can generate outputs that are distinctive, rather than recreative of the learned corpora or the seed material. This objective has been first assessed statistically, and as judged by k-sample Anderson-Darling and Cramer tests, has been achieved. Music has been generated using the approach, and informal judgements place it roughly on a par with algorithmic and composed music in related forms. Tongue deep in cheek, I call the resultant generative models Deep Improviser. Future work will aim to enhance the model such that it can be evaluated in relation to expression, meaning and utility in real-time performance. One long term purpose of this early stage work is to provide improvising tools for creative musicians, and for educational purposes, expanding improvisatory possibilities and stimuli for the wider community. The research here can thus potentially benefit our academic and creative peer communities, but also perhaps appeal to others.
So What about the Women? The impact of Gender Mix on Communities of Practice Female singers from Nina Simone to Kate Ceberano are some of the most recognisable and celebrated jazz performers. Yet across the Australian jazz industry, women are disturbingly under-represented. There are relatively few female jazz composers and instrumentalists. Indeed, many female instrumentalists feel that they need to be better than their male counterparts to get gigs. Even today, research shows some musicians believe certain instruments are more suited to men than women. Drums, trombone and trumpet are seen as “masculine” and the flute, clarinet and violin as “feminine”. Research also shows that jazz largely conforms to masculine stereotypes when it comes to women performing live. Female singers have spoken of fending off comments about their dress and body shape. Studies in the USA have demonstrated that men take more solos than women in jazz performances – yet the musical quality of the solos changed very little regardless of gender. When playing, women are less likely to be found in jazz leadership roles.
Improvisation in a group setting includes leading, following, making space and fitting in as the music evolves. But women in leadership roles – both on and off the stage – are judged more harshly than their male peers. This presentation examines the current issues surrounding the ability for women jazz musicians to participate equally in current communities of practice, and offers some suggestions for making change.
Session 7 – Post Graduate
Converging Structures: An exploration of syntactic rhythmic organisation within improvised practice.
Discourse amongst scholars explaining and describing musical elements using language as a conduit is found throughout the literature (Patel 2003, p. 674). Of all the terms that may be borrowed from the domain of language, however, the term ‘syntax’ has held central focus, due to its ability to address structure (Swain 1995, p. 281). ‘Syntax’ is used by this paper to explore cognitive, and creative complexities encountered organising rhythmic structures within my practice as an improvising drum-set artist.
Negotiating, manipulating, and organising rhythmic structures is a key feature of improvisation, and is considered to be an essential skill for improvisers (Hoenig & Weidenmueller 2009, p. 3). An overview of educational literature within the field of jazz displays the emphasis that musicians have placed on rhythmic organisation within performance practice in recent times. A significant gap is identified in the literature, however, in regard to bridging the processes associated with cognitively and creatively navigating syntactic structure in improvised practice.
This proposed paper will use my artistic drum-set practice in coordination with empirical research and theorising that links language and music via ‘syntax’ to advance knowledge, and close the observable gap in understanding regarding cognitive and creative processes. The use of original recordings and developed practiced materials will be examined to detail the development, and evolution of ‘syntax’ within my practice. Complexities confronted within my practice/research will aim to provide plausible solutions for improvisers in navigating structures in their practice.
SONIC FREEDOM: Differentiated muscular voice control in context of jazz voice qualities and improvisation
This paper investigates the benefits and limitations of differentiated muscular voice control in jazz voice qualities and improvisation through a performative investigation.
Historically, research and evidence based practice by voice scientists such as Titze, Sundberg, Estill or Fant, continue to allow deeper insight into how the voice works and how we can achieve improved control over the sonic outcome. Is there a benefit to gaining differentiated
muscular control over the voice, does it apply in context of jazz voice qualities and improvisation and does it enable the jazz vocalist of the 21st Century to cater for vocal challenges across all jazz genres and improvisation?
This paper will articulate an applied scientific model of the voice (Titze, Sundberg, Estill et al) by demonstrating independent control over the parts of the vocal mechanism relevant to this study, namely larynx, tongue, velum, false vocal folds, aryepiglottic sphincter and true vocal folds body-cover.
Subsequently, evidence for true vocal fold body-cover control will be presented via endoscopy video footage on the same pitch, arpeggios across the passagio and the opening line of “Chega de Saudade” (Jobim) in different voice quality.
Finally, the discussed anatomical parameters will be applied live on “Chega de Saudade” across the whole form in eight different voice qualities, using 5 of the unified anatomical descriptors, a new suggested parameter and video-endoscopy reference.
Tasmania’s Jazz Identity;
Acknowledging Tasmania’s Unique Contribution to Australian Jazz History
Australian jazz has developed exponentially since its beginning at the turn of the twentieth century. Now, in the twenty-first century, Australian jazz and its musicians are as sophisticated, respected and imitated as any American or European models. Jazz scholars such as Andrew Bisset (1979), Bruce Johnson (1987, 2000, 2003, 2004) and John Whiteoak (1999, 2009, 2016) have studied Australian jazz chronology, but Australian jazz can and should also be understood as a function of place. The spread of any culture, especially internationally, can be referred to as a cultural diaspora: unique local characteristics and adoption of musical ideas combine to create heterogeneous forms of expression in specific places and settings. In Australia’s jazz developments, it is Tasmania that presents as a significant locale in having created individual and distinct identities when measured against other Australian jazz scenes.
Tasmanian jazz and jazz musicians have for a long time been overlooked in mainland discourse about Australian jazz; however, Tasmania has contributed to so much of the country’s jazz history. A large factor in this phenomenon is Tasmania’s isolation, which has deprived audiences of contact with other Australian jazz activity. It is this plus other circumstances that have led to several distinctive characteristics in Tasmanian jazz.
This paper explores the idea of a ‘Tasmanian jazz identity’, the different demography in Tasmania’s north and south has resulted in particular preponderant jazz styles and characteristics. A further circumstance arising in part from demography in Tasmania is the importance of bands rather than individuals. The most important of these bands were those that were formed around Hobart’s Ian Pearce and Tom Pickering, and Launceston’s Ted Herron and Bill Browne. To varying degrees, all of these constituents combine to engender a style of jazz expression, which is distinctive in comparison to other Australian urban jazz scenes.
How can research into musical interplay in Jazz expand practitioners’ reach for meaning in their music making?
This paper explores Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of ‘becoming’ as a vehicle to represent and translate the ineffable experience of a gulf of affects that occurs during peak moments in jazz performance. A state of ‘becoming’ is one where we expand beyond reflectively understood limits of ourselves to ‘become-other’(Deleuze, Guattari et al. 2013). For this to occur in ensemble interplay, tacit agreements and ethical guidelines need to be formed to determine how shared goals are to be achieved. Whilst the positioning of players in a community of practice is backgrounded by their ethical performance values(Lave and Wenger 1991), the finer details of these agreements and guidelines are negotiated in performance itself and evolve over time with the music and music making processes.
Finding ways to unpack and represent expressed meanings produced through a multiplicity of choices, reflections, ecologies and intuits, is by some considered a role embedded in the music itself. In the presence of this conviction, I argue that reconceptualising performance practice through research can offer practitioners new diagrams of musical assemblages perceived through the orders of human experience that are conditioned in an order of things in themselves.(Grosz 2017 p5)
If research inquires into the processes and potentialities of music making, what is music’s ultimate inquiry? As humans, we share the possession of consciousness that is conditioned in an awareness of our own impending death, a return to that from which we evolved, the earth and the cosmos. Collaborative performance with other humans serves as exploration of potentiality in our living. Reaching into a spatio-temporal field of intensity that is performance, we can ‘become’ beyond what we are in an immanence of everything for all its meanings all at once.
A dash through memory lane: Snapshots of the history of improvisation in the Western art music tradition
Prior to the 20th century, piano teaching within the Western art music tradition embraced improvisation as a teaching and learning tool. Historically, improvisation was used as a way to feature musicians’ imaginations and their unique interpretations of musical scores. In the teaching studio, it assisted students in learning the rules of, and gaining fluency in, the musical language. It would prepare students to play repertoire, and would assist them in acquiring knowledge of correct fingering and developing technical skill. Research conducted in the 21st century has extended upon these benefits to include developing creative thinking skills (e.g. flexibility, divergent thinking and originality), enhancing trust and communication between musicians, increasing students’ enjoyment of music, and facilitating individual creative expression and self-actualisation. Improvisation however, is often sidelined in
today’s one-to-one piano teaching studio. Reasons for this include the stronghold of tradition of teaching only the notated music that became common in the 19th century, and adherence to teaching only the requirements of popular examination syllabi. Potential reasons also include teachers’ lack of self-efficacy in teaching improvisation due to their own learning experience where improvisation may have been absent. This presentation will trace the history of improvisation within the Western art music tradition, highlighting the important moments in time that led to the diminishing use of improvisation as a teaching and learning tool within the one-to-one piano teaching studio. Although this presentation focuses on the history of improvisation within the Western art music tradition, several of the elements to be discussed will be relevant to the study and practice of jazz improvisation, particularly the relationship between improvisation, creativity and self-expression.
Indices of Style in Group Improvisation: An Approach to Group Improvised Music
How do musicians engage in group improvisations that are not premeditated in any way prior to performance? What are the processes informing this social activity? These questions are investigated in a practice-based research project that contends that improvised sounds, in the context of unstructured group improvisations, operate as signs. It is arguable that these musical signals embody intersubjective information, thereby assisting participants’ negotiation and organisation of collectively improvised utterances. Recent research into group creativity, argues for a semiotic view by focusing on Charles Sanders Peirce’s concept of indexicality as the primary interactional mechanism for improvising groups.
This research builds on Peirce’s work to examine how indices of style, meaning the characteristics of an improvised gesture that allude to a particular style of music, can inform inform group improvisation commonly referred to as free, spontaneous or extemporal. For example, an atonal walking bass line may be indexical of free jazz and thus elicit responses reflecting the free jazz style. However, improvisers are more than likely to have contrasting interpretations of various sounds and may benefit from an approach that explores how these musical signs can be collectively negotiated. This research investigates the notion that through indexing a particular style (or styles) of music, certain constraints are generated within a context that guides the creation of improvised materials. Through undertaking a series of rehearsal exercises that focus on the exploitation of the constraints generated by indices of style, this research project seeks to examine if such exercises can enhance group intersubjectivity and thus develop innovative performative pathways in the performance of unstructured group improvised music.
So What Is Time?: An examination of the temporal element in music improvisation and its impact on performance and research
This paper examines different aspects of time experienced by the performer and considers how the passage, experience and interpretation of time can vary depending upon the contextualisation of this element within improvisation. Here the following research questions are considered:
How does our experience of the duration of improvisation change within the realisation and performance of music and are these aspects best represented by current methods of musical analysis and transcription, or can other methods of analysis be developed or borrowed to best determine the success or outcomes of the temporal element in improvisation? Could it be determined that within this artistic process the perception of time is not ridged and what happens to time within the process of improvisation?
Can time be considered and or measured by methods other than rhythmic notation, time feel or duration? What then happens to music which is compromised in its representation upon the stave or falls outside the stave? How does the reliance of technology to record music change our experience and perceptions of time, and the musical event that has taken place, and what are the processes involved within the practice of improvised music that can change upon the analysis of recorded performances?
Temporal concepts, rhythmic notation, phrasing and interpretation of improvised music performance are considered and investigated and their potential impact upon further research into the experience of time, how it is perceived, described and demonstrated via notation and other means, with implications for artistic research and creative communities both within and outside the academy.
Hannah Reardon-Smith Sympoiesis in Free Improvisation
Sympoiesis is a simple word; it means ‘making-with.’ . . . Sympoiesis is a word proper to complex, dynamic, responsive, situated, historical systems. It is a word for worlding-with, in company. Sympoiesis enfolds autopoiesis and generatively unfurls and extends it. Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble (58).
Improvising is always ‘making-with’. The very nature of creating, moment-to-moment, requires interaction with the space we are in and the other critters with whom we are sharing it. Even when playing a solo improvisation we are in dialogue with the environment, the listeners, the instrument and its idiosyncrasies, the body (and its co-inhabitants) and its idiosyncrasies, as well as our own histories, musical and otherwise. Bruce Ellis Benson goes so far as to recognise this dialogue as an ongoing improvisation that exists also in pre- composed, notated music. When we improvise music alongside others, however, these interactions are exponentially expanded. Such an environment can be rich and generative, leading to rapid developments and unexpected changes of direction, or it can be
overwhelming, leading most often to a reactionary withdrawal into the safety of rote- practiced materials – self-protective egoism and individualism.
When we are open to the risks of co-creation, there is the possibility of sympoiesis. We might grow into our collaborators over the course of an improvisation, involving one another into a complex network of dynamic responsiveness, rather than achieving growth solely through the autopoietic evolving of the practice room. Thinking free improvisation in terms of sympoiesis as defined by Haraway – complex networks of ecological interaction between forces known and unknown, present and intangible – gives us a rich and fertile humus from which to grow ideas of freedom and musicking.
In this presentation, I will outline the possibilities for thinking free improvisation using the writing of Donna Haraway, and explore the effect this research has had in my own improvisation practice.
Integrating the Musical, the Natural, and the Improvised: David Rothenberg and Multispecies Musicking
Nature’s resilience as a basin of attraction for improvising musicians is saliently illustrated in multispecies musicking: mysterious real-time composition comprising sound, environment, and shared co-presence between species. Implied moral and philosophical questions have vexed the idiosyncratic practice to date, deflecting attention away from the music’s own worth as a refreshing and resilient ecological product of human/more-than-human interaction. To counteract these perceptions, the paper revolves around the jazz clarinetist David Rothenberg (b. 1962) putting his improvisatory skills to work in a variety of fields, scenes and settings.
Based on long-term research correspondence with Rothenberg and his generous authorisation of this paper, I demonstrate how his performances, books, recordings and films provide clear ontological syntax: birds, insects, and whales model a seamless expression of ecosystem in open stage for the human development of wide listening practice, sensitivity to soundscape, intuitive musicianship, extended instrumental technique, and transformations of wildlife community sounds into real-time electronic music. Notably, the performer’s recent series of clarinet encounters with live nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) in the parks of Berlin culminated in the album Berlin Bülbül.
indeterminate music be measured, and how do anti-institutional art forms impact Arguably, it is in improvisatory musical performance that
relationships between humans and their environments most cogently enrich ecology. Multispecies musicking leads us to appreciate the larger acoustic entity in which the healthier the habitat, the more ‘musical’ its natural polyphony. Broad social and scientific analyses are required to progress understanding of musical interaction with more-than- human life. Paradoxically, the future of multispecies musicking may lie in technology’s sonic potential for portraying healthy and degraded ecosystems.
Jazz up North Down Under: An inquiry into jazz performance, culture and identity through collaborative recitals in Queensland, Australia
This study in music performance investigates the influence of culture and identity on the jazz performance outcomes of the author through collaborative recitals in Queensland, Australia. The research took place in three phases, correlating with major jazz performances produced over a three-year time frame; the 2015 Brisbane International Jazz Festival, 2016 Jazz Up North and the 2017 Brisbane International Jazz Festival.
The relationship between jazz, jazz culture, and musician identity within jazz culture has been an important component of jazz research since the mid-twentieth century. From an Australian perspective, a variety of studies have been undertaken regarding the origins, culture and performance of Australian jazz and jazz identity. While framed as investigations into Australian jazz, this research exhibits an overwhelming focus on artists from Australia’s largest population centres suggesting the need for research focused on other regions of Australia. This investigation focuses on unique elements and factors that contribute to the culture, identity and jazz performance in Queensland.
Through a series of focus group interviews with a variety of collaborative groups directly involved in these events themes emerged in regards to the evolution of Queensland jazz culture from the 1940s through to the present. Emerging influences included musical collaboration with American troops during the Second World War through jam session culture, the impact of abundant performance opportunities brought about by tourism and World Expo as well as the development and evolution of tertiary jazz education over the last 30 years.
The study explored the relationship of these influences on selected performances through the analysis of improvised solos in contrasting environments with prominent members of the Queensland jazz community. Other factors that arose through this project included the decline in funding for jazz support infrastructure and how this directly impacted on the rehearsal and performance outcomes embedded in this project.
Going to Town in the Big Jam: ‘Official’ Jam Sessions in the 1940s and the development of the New Zealand jazz community
During the 1940s New Zealand jazz fans (both individuals and clubs) began to organise jam sessions, usually at the home of a fan or musician, at which the fans would be audience and witness to what was usually a private musicians affair. Reported in local jazz magazines Swing! and Jukebox: New Zealand’s Swing Magazine, and in swing club newsletters as ‘official jam sessions’ these sessions were structured around the musicians jamming, and fan based activities, such as listening to and discussing the latest jazz records, and lectures (‘talks’ in local 1940s parlance) on jazz related topics. Arranging and organising jam sessions in this manner appears to be unusual in other jazz scenes/cultures, and gives us an insight into the changing structure of the New Zealand jazz scene at a point where jazz was moving
away from dance music to listening music, and the importance of improvisation to that change. In New Zealand these ‘official jam sessions’ were significant to the development of the local jazz culture because they contributed to the interaction, appreciation, and musical comprehension between musicians and fans creating a sense of community.
This paper investigates the development of the ‘official jam sessions’, how they operated, the attraction of improvisation for fans, and the participation by fans and musicians. The ‘official’ sessions played an important role in promoting jazz as a listening (as opposed to dancing) music in New Zealand during the 1940s, advancing all styles of jazz to the fan audience, including the new style of be-bop, and increasing the fans’ understanding of the role improvisation played in the creation of local jazz. These ‘official jam sessions’ are positioned in the broader New Zealand jazz scene, examining the role that they played in musician/fan interactions, and in building the New Zealand jazz community and culture.
A Good ‘Black Music’ Story? Black American Stars in Australian Musical Entertainment Before ‘Jazz’
Fragmentary reports and imagery of a seemingly new form of musical entertainment called ‘jazz’ or ‘jass’ began to reach Australasia in late 1917, including the silent film, An Even Break featuring a ‘Negro jazz band’ scene requiring localised silent cinema musical accompaniment. By mid-1918, a vaudeville act billed as ‘Australia’s First Jazz Band’ appeared at the National Theatre, Sydney and thereon to Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. Yet, the history of jazz-related music in Australia arguably begins at least 80 years earlier when white colonial blackface minstrels began to present improvisatory ‘Negro’ music and dance acts like ‘Jump Jim Crow’ or ‘Zip Coon’, followed a decade later by touring blackface (white) minstrel troupes with ear-playing minstrel ‘orchestras’ (typically) of banjo, fiddle, bones and tambourine and featuring performance behaviour and improvisatory practices that even more explicitly anticipated those of jazz.
Two of my recent writings, ‘White Roots, Grey Flowers? Multiple Conceptions of Early Australian ‘Jazz’ and Pre-‘Jazz’ History’ and ‘Demons of Discord Down Under: “Jump Jim Crow” and “Australia’s First Jazz Band”‘ serve to demonstrate that the pre-jazz predecessors or ‘roots’ of jazz in Australia (such as minstrelsy, cakewalk and ragtime music and dancing) were overwhelmingly associated with visiting and resident white artists. This paper, however, employs primary, secondary and rare archival sources to demonstrate that there were also a significant number of visiting and resident African-American artists in Australia between 1878 and Australia’s First Jazz Band, including world-famous and influential figures (or ‘stars’) of black minstrelsy, ragtime and, seemingly, early jazz.
The paper discusses conflicting perceptions of these non-white artists by a xenophobic white colonial population that, characteristically, had little regard for indigenous black Australians. It gauges the jazz-relevant musical influence of black minstrelsy, ‘slave plantation’ acts, ‘jubilee’ and ragtime singing (and dance) and, in particular, touring black brass bands and theatre orchestra music upon Australian pre-jazz popular entertainment. More specifically, it suggests that music that might be heard today as featuring significant characteristics of early black jazz was performed in Australia by these black bands and orchestras well before the term ‘jazz’ conveyed anything in popular entertainment.
Tim Willis and Paul Williamson
Listening to Communities of Practice
‘Communities of practice’ refers to groups of people who share a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Within jazz music, communities of practice can result in a collective learning of approaches for studying improvisation and new forms of expression. This paper aims to explore how these communities have the potential to change both how jazz musicians think about studio practice and concepts such as aural skill development, and the methods adopted for learning new material.
The paper presents findings from a qualitative study within Willis’ PhD that examined the community of practice of 17 high-level Australian improvising instrumentalists. The study examined how these musicians engaged in mental practice in order to develop the ability to mentally improvise, while away from their given instruments. Within the study, mental practice was understood as the deliberate imagining of a given task that is normally physical in nature, and it also referred to activities directed towards constructing the cognitive faculties that make it possible to mentally practice.
The research showed that the development of mental improvisation skills was a highly valued component of many of the musicians’ creative practices. For many, it represented a significant approach that they engaged with during their studio practice that subsequently contributed to improving their artistic output. Indeed, many of those interviewed had put considerable effort into investigating how such mental skills might be streamlined, and had developed approaches for aiding the generation of musical auditory imagery and musical sounds heard in their minds.
Despite being commonly used by jazz practitioners, the development of mental musical improvisation skills via mental practice has rarely been studied in depth or incorporated in teaching pedagogies within tertiary jazz music education. Whilst research undertaken in the academy can feed back into communities of practice, the authors contend that the opposite is also true – communities of practice can inform curriculum structure, pedagogical methods and directions for future jazz research within tertiary institutions.
Explaining and Advocating: Writing about Jazz and Improvised Music
The tools of creative literature are words. Yet this same literature benefits from other kinds of words—those of literary criticism—explaining it and making it more accessible (there is of course a vast industry of the stuff). How much more so, then, would jazz and improvised music, whose tools are abstract sounds, benefit from some good words to explain and advance them?
We can riff on this comparison a little further by noting the great literary practitioners— Baudelaire, T. S. Eliot or Julian Barnes, for example—who have also produced literary criticism of great explanatory power. Or the not-so-great practitioner, but powerful critic, Terry Eagleton, whose 1983 work Literary Theory was something of a minor publishing
sensation! Part of Eagleton’s success, then and now, lies in the fact that he explains the cultural context of literature and the linkages between them in ways that resonate strongly with readers. Compare him, say, to Roger Scruton, the philosopher of music, who barely articulates any cultural concept at all and who thus leaves his otherwise tremendous musical acuity disconnected from real life.
It’s this connection with real life that matters. We, music’s practitioners, know this intuitively because this connection is our life. But others do not. So, jazz and improvised music have much to gain from good words that explain and champion this connection.
What might these words look like?
In this presentation I want to take a stab at answering this question by offering a very tendentious valorisation of an enduring piece of jazz technology: the saxophone.
I want to argue that, from its mediocre beginnings, Sax’s quirky 19th century invention went on to voice the experience of modern life better than just about any other musical instrument. And that a big driver in this feat was the place it came to find in the quirky stylistic invention of the 20th century: jazz.
“Trading Fours”: A translational jazz heritage project using composition and performance
Australia has a rich heritage of jazz culture and music-making, the significance of which continues to be revealed through historical and ethnographic research within jazz studies. The translation of this research to a wider community of practice is often problematic despite its relevance to current practice and its basis for community identity. This paper will discuss the premise of an ongoing project in Queensland that seeks to marry the findings of a jazz heritage project with composers and performers of the current generation. This project, titled ‘Trading Fours’, pilots a method for the creation of a dialogue between past and present, between heritage research and the local community of practice. The underlying concepts of personal and collective memory are brought to action in the very creation of music, which responds to the recorded recollections of older participants who describe jazz activities in Queensland since the late 1940s. This paper will describe the processes, predictions and current observations of the work in progress, with the aim to critically assess the benefits and gaps in the project in light of current scholarship and community outreach practices.
Willie ‘The Lion’ McIntyre and the Development of Australian Traditional Jazz
This paper outlines some features of the playing and singing of Willie ‘The Lion’ McIntyre (1919-1987). Based on a forthcoming musical biography that uses interviews and archival research, the paper shows that McIntyre was a unique figure on the early Australian jazz
scene as a boogie and stride piano player and singer with deep roots in the blues. He was influenced by a wide range of pianists, including Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller and Jimmy Yancey, but he developed his own playing and singing style. He was unusual in developing facility with both boogie and stride playing and was important in the development of traditional jazz in Melbourne in the late 1930s and 1940s.
A brief examination of McIntyre’s childhood in Benalla and early years in Melbourne is following by a discussion of his experiences playing at the Dr Carver Club in Brisbane in 1944. The 1946-1949 period is a significant one in the development of Australian society and the paper outlines McIntyre’s role in the cultural developments in Melbourne at this time as a member of the Tony Newstead band and at a later period with the Portsea Trio.
Humour was an integral part of his performances, which often included clarinettist George Tack. This reflected the influence of Leroy ‘Stuff’ Smith, Slim Gaillard and Slam Stewart and Australian vaudeville and, as happened with Fats Waller, sometimes led to an under- estimation of his musical contribution.
Three brief audio clips will be played to illustrate various aspects of Willie’s playing: Dr Carver Stomp, Blues in C# Minor, which features a Cuban bass pattern derived from Jelly Roll Morton and Jimmy Yancey, and ‘Oh, Lady Be Good’, which shows a Count Basie influence and the development of McIntyre’s mainstream playing.
Jazzin’ The Silents: Jazz and Improvised Music in Contemporary Scores for Silent Film
The vernacular jazz language significantly entered film scoring in the 1950s with the work of Silver Age composers Alex North, Leith Stevens, Elmer Bernstein, and Henry Mancini, and of jazz composers Duke Ellington, John Lewis and Miles Davis. It has continued to evolve, and to shed its original associations with poverty, sex, drugs and working-class settings–as well as its early role as diegetic music– traversing the stylistic range from trad jazz to the avant- garde. Recent films such as Birdman (2014), Whiplash (2014) and La La Land (2016) continue to demonstrate the relevance of jazz to film scoring.
But the paradox inherent in the use of jazz in film music has always been that jazz is essentially an improvisational form, and film music requires meticulous correlation between sound and image. However, the proliferation of contemporary scores for silent film has opened the doors to the use of improvised music in film scoring.
Contemporary silent film scores by musician/composers as diverse as Bill Frisell, Don Byron, John Zorn, and Ken Vandermark have featured improvised music as the foundation for much or all of their scores. The large amount of score time, the freedom from the oversight of a living director, and the influence of 60s independent cinema and multimedia/happenings, have provided an environment in which scores that make significant use of improvisation take maximum advantage of the spontaneity and group creativity of improvised music as part of a kinetic live performance event.
Jazz/film music composer Phillip Johnston uses examples from both his own silent film scores and those of others to illustrate strategies in which jazz improvisation and improvised music can function effectively as tools for the contemporary silent film score composer.
About the Presenters In order of presentation
Barry Long is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Music Department at Bucknell University where he teaches interdisciplinary coursework in jazz and directs the jazz ensemble. The first to receive a doctoral degree in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music, he has performed with such artists as Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer, John Clayton, Eliane Elias, Benny Carter, and Jim McNeely. A recent fellow at Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, his current projects include research on jazz and activism during the Civil Rights movement and the performative Freedom in the Air project.
Tim O’Dwyer is an Australian saxophonist, improviser and composer, and has been a lecturer and Head at the School of Contemporary Music, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore, since 2004. Over the past 25 years, Tim has been a prolific performer and collaborator traversing jazz, improvised and experimental music, contemporary classical music and cross disciplinary projects, and regularly performs throughout Australia, Asia and Europe. Tim is currently a member of two of the most prestigious and established contemporary music ensembles in Australia: ELISION Ensemble (since 1994) and The Australian Art Orchestra. His ongoing projects include: his hybrid solo saxophone project METASAX; the international collaborative composing project: The Fold, with ensembles currently based in Cologne and Singapore; and his soundpainting ensemble: Erik Satay & The Kampong Arkestra based in Singapore. Tim holds a PhD in composition and philosophy from the Queensland University of Technology, and continues to research on the nexus between the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, composition and improvisation.
Alister Spence is recognized as one of Australia’s most original, distinctive contemporary jazz pianists/composers. With a performing and composing career spanning more than 25 years, his wide-ranging talents have led him to perform with and compose for some of the world’s most respected artists in the areas of contemporary music, improvisation, film and theatre. In recent years he has devoted his energy to writing and performing with his trio, The Alister Spence Trio with Lloyd Swanton (the Necks) on double bass and Toby Hall (formerly with pianist, Mike Nock) drums and glockenspiel. This celebrated group has recorded six CDs (Rufus Records and Alister Spence Music [ASM]) and has a growing international reputation
John Mackey is a renowned saxophonist, composer and educator. He has been lecturing at the ANU School of Music since January 2000. John was nominated for the Freedman Jazz Prize in 2001 and has recently been invited into the Higher Education Academy in the UK as a Senior Fellow and is excited about a recent co-invention with the Physics and Engineering Department at ANU. He is currently halfway through his PhD based at ECU, Perth,WA.
His topic is researching Extended Applications of the Pentatonic Scale and proposing a new modal concept. John has performed with many artists inlcuding: Ray Charles, B.B. King, Dame Kiri Tekanawa, Kurt Elling, Kendrick Scott, Nat Adderley, Eddie Henderson, Roy Hargrove, Red Rodney, Lew Tabackin, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Kenny Werner, Bob Mintzer, Richie Cole, Johnny Griffin, Al Cohn, Woody Herman, Ralph Moore, Mark Levine, Don Rader, Ronnie Scott, Jim McNeely, Kenny Werner, Mike Nock.
Johhanes Luebbers: Winner of the 2011 ‘Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year’ (Australian Jazz ‘Bell’ Awards) and the 2011 ‘Jazz Work of the Year’ (APRA/AMC Art Music Awards), Johannes Luebbers is one of Australia’s leading jazz composers. A graduate of the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Luebbers is also a current PhD candidate researching within jazz composition and collaborative practice. He has released two albums with his award-winning ensemble the Johannes Luebbers Dectet and an EP with experimental trio Artefact Agency. He is active as a composer and arranger in contemporary popular music and music theatre, composing the score for the recent Australian musical ‘Melba’.
Previously lecturing at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts and the ANU School of Music, Canberra, Luebbers is currently Acting Composition Convenor at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University, Melbourne. He is an ‘Associate Artist’ with the Australian Music Centre.
James McLean is a researcher and improvising drummer, based in Melbourne, Australia. James completed his PhD through the University of Sydney in 2018, researching the application of embodied music cognition theory to the development of a solo drumset practice; two recordings from this research, Counter Clockwork (2015) and Oscillator (2018), have been released. James is an active performer, co-leading ensembles including All Talk, Blind Spot, and Lightly Toasted, as well as featuring on recordings by the Eugene Ball Quartet, The Paul Williamson Quintet, and the Joe O’Connor Trio. In 2016, James was awarded the prestigious Freedman Jazz Fellowship, becoming the first drummer to win the award.
Bruce Johnson: Formerly Professor of English at the University of NSW, Bruce Johnson currently holds honorary professorships in Departments including Music, Cultural History, Communications and Media in a number of universities including Glasgow, Turku (Finland) and UTS in Australia. He has long been active as a jazz musician, award-winning broadcaster and record producer. He has acted as government advisor on music policy including as a member of the NSW Music Board. He co-founded the International Institute for Popular Culture in Finland, and is on the editorial boards of some half dozen of the world’s leading academic music journals. His academic publications number several hundred, including author/editor of over a dozen books, among the most recent of which are on jazz and totalitarianism, and sound, memory and space. He is currently preparing two books, one on the global jazz diaspora, the other on Soviet cultural diplomacy during the ‘Thaw’ of the late 1950s.
Andrys Onsman is a music educator and performer. Highlights of his teaching include working with young disenfranchised Aboriginal children, allowing them to perform on stages around the country. As a commentator on music, Andrys’ work has appeared in the mainstream media including newspapers and magazines, as well as in a wide array of social media, including CD liner notes and program notes. Academically, his research output in the area of artistic research and non-literal language communication is substantial: according to Google Scholar, his academic papers have been cited more than 1000 times. He has PhDs in Cognitive Psychology and in Aboriginal Studies.
Glen Hodges is coordinator of contemporary guitar at the University of Tasmania. In an extended tertiary career he has received a number of awards for teaching, program design and management. He supervises postgraduate students on studies ranging from performance and improvisation to analysis and composition. His publications include a feature article in the IAJE Journal and works on music education and research. He is endorsed by Yamaha Guitars and Hancock Archtops and has performed with some of Australia’s finest jazz musicians. He has also been involved in church music for some 35 years across a number of liturgical styles.
Ben Phipps: Ben recently completed his PhD at the University of New South Wales in ethnomusicology and jazz studies. He currently teaches in the music department at UNSW. His primary research interest is the impact of cultural hybridity on musical practice and the development of associated social meanings, particularly in musics involving improvisation. Other areas of research include: double bass performance practice and music education.
Helen Russell is a bassist, vocalist, arranger, musical director and educator based in Brisbane. Her career has encompassed many styles of music performance – music theatre, country gospel, pop, classical – whilst always having jazz at its core. She has taught sessionally for many years in jazz programs at the Queensland Conservatorium and the Jazz Music Institute, and since 2015 has been a full-time Lecturer in Contemporary Music at the University of Southern Queensland. Her Masters of Music Research centred on her method for teaching aural and theory skills via a cappella singing.
Bruce Woodward is a Lecturer in Music in the School of Arts and Communication at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. His research interests lie in the areas of guitar cultures, contemporary music performance, and contemporary music theory and analysis. In addition to teaching and research, Bruce maintains a profile as a guitarist, performing and recording in jazz and contemporary music contexts.
Adrian McNeil is an ethnomusicologist and senior lecturer at Monash University specialising in Hindustani music, with wide ranging interests and journal publications in improvisation, the political economy of music, cultural anthropology, the philosophy of music and practice based research. His many publications on the political and cultural history of Hindustani music, and his book on the cultural history of the sarod tradition are well known in the field. He has spent a number of years in India as an ARC post- doctoral fellow at Jadavpur University, and as a visiting fellow at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata. Adrian also has undergone extensive training in Hindustani music and has years of international performance experience and commercial recordings on the sarod, both in traditional and in intercultural ensembles.
Robert Burke (Monash University and Associate Professor) established Jazz and Popular music at Monash University in 2002. From 2011 – 2014 he served as head at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music (Monash University). An improvising musician, Rob has performed and composed on over 300 CDs and has toured extensively throughout Australia, Asia, Europe, Brazil and the USA. He has also released 12 CDs under his own name performing/recording with seminal international jazz artists such as Dave Douglas, Enrico Rava, George Lewis, Kenny Werner, Hermeto Pascoal, George Garzone, Ben Monder, Mark
Helias and Australian musicians Paul Grabowsky and Tony Gould. Rob’s area of research is focussed in practice-based artistic research (improvisation/jazz). Recent book: coedited with Andrys Onsman Perspectives in Artistic Research in Music (Lexington) and to be published late 2018 (co-written Ansdrys Onsman) Experimentation in Jazz: Chasing Ideas (Routledge)
Dave Wilson holds a position as Lecturer in Music at the New Zealand School of Music, Te Kōkī, at Victoria University of Wellington. His work focuses on jazz and popular music in Southeastern Europe and explores how music and sound relate to nationalism, belonging, intangible cultural heritage, the construction of social space, and the nature of scenes. He received his PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA, and his research has been supported by the ACLS, the American Councils of International Education, and the Herb Alpert Foundation. His work has been published in Yearbook for Traditional Music, Ethnomusicology Review, and Commoning Ethnography, and his textbook Gateways to Understanding Music, co-authored with Timothy Rice, will be published in 2019 by Routledge. He released the albums On the Face Place (2016) and In Passing (2017) on SkyDeck Music, and his duo improvisation-based album SLANT with pianist Richard Valitutto is forthcoming in 2019 on pfMENTUM.
Roger Dean is a composer/improviser, and a research professor in music cognition/ computation at the MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University. He founded and directs the ensemble austraLYSIS, which has appeared in 30 countries. He has performed as bassist, pianist, piano accompanist and laptop computer artist in many contexts, from the Academy of Ancient Music to the London Sinfonietta, and from Graham Collier Music (leading European jazz group) to duetting with Derek Bailey and Evan Parker. About 70 commercial recordings and numerous online digital intermedia pieces represent his creative work, and he has published more than 300 journal articles. Current research concerns improvisation and computational creativity, affect, roles of acoustic intensity and timbre, and rhythm generation and perception. Prior to 2007, he was a full professor of biochemistry in the UK, foundation CEO/Director of the Heart Research Institute, Sydney, researching on atherosclerosis, and then Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra.
Cat Hope is an artist and academic with an active profile as a composer, sound artist, soloist and performer in music groups internationally. She is the director of the award-winning Decibel new music ensemble, a Churchill and Civitella Ranieri Fellow. Her recent research has examined gender balance in the music industry. Cat is the co- author of ‘Digital Arts – An introduction to New Media’ (Bloomsbury, 2014), and currently Professor of Music and Head of school at the Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.
Aaron McCoullough is a drummer/composer/educator based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Music with Honours, a Masters of Education, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate (PhD).The ability to adapt to various musical contexts is a distinguishing feature of Aaron’s skill set. This is recognised by his demand as an accompanist with a variety of renowned artists, some of which include: Tony Gould, Brenton Foster, Johannes Luebbers, and Hugh Stuckey. These musical encounters have led to numerous international/national appearances, and recording projects that have been recognised with industry awards. Aaron regularly performs and composes his original music, which can be heard on his two
releases: ‘Portrait of Thoughts’ (released 2013), and ‘Provenience’ (released 2018). Each of these recordings feature New York, and Melbourne based musicians. As an educator/music
researcher Aaron has given presentations/workshops at the Australian National University, and University of Tasmania.
Gerald Marko holds the continued position of Scholarly Teaching Fellow, Jazz & Popular Studies, at Monash University as well as a 1st class honors degree (BMus Jazz), an
adv. diploma in linguistics, a postgrad. degree in performing arts and the highest teaching qualification in Estill Voice Training teaching singers and speech pathologists in Europe/Australasia. He was a guest speaker at the 2nd International jazz voice conference in Helsinki (2017), the symposium for Performing Arts & Healthcare in Sydney (2014), the
7th Estill World Voice Symposium in Melbourne (2015) and has been invited to present plenary workshops at the 12th International Jazz Research Conference in Graz (2018) and the conference of the Association of Popular Music Education in Nashville (US) on the topic of applied voice science and vocal pedagogy. Gerald is currently preparing to enroll into an interdisciplinary PhD in 2018.
Simon Petty is the coordinator of instrumental music at Trinity Lutheran College on the Gold Coast. Earning his Bachelor of Music in jazz trumpet performance and instrumental music pedagogy from the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. Simon has gone on to complete a Graduate Diploma of Education and a Graduate Certificate in Music Studies on Australian jazz history and composition. His current PhD research considers the history of jazz in regional Australian contexts.
From 2017, Simon also works as a sessional lecturer at Griffith University, lecturing in music education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the School of Education and Professional Studies.
Simon pursues a vigorous performance profile, having performed with many of Australia’s leading big bands, jazz ensembles and orchestras. His professional instrumental and conducting activities include; live radio and television performances, national broadcasts, musicals, and commercial recording sessions. He also continues a busy schedule as a music educator, adjudicator, and clinician, and sustains many freelance performances and recordings with a number of bands and projects throughout Australia.
Simon holds a distinguished reputation as a performer and educator and contributes regularly to the field of music education and performance studies. He is highly regarded for his musical experience, and inspirational teaching style.
Jonathan Zion is a bassist/composer and PhD candidate at Monash University. Graduating from VCA in 1992, Jonathan has been performing in Australia and overseas with many artists including Ian Moss, Pete Murray, Lior, Deborah Conaway. In 2016, he toured with Paul Grabowsky and Robert Bourke to Japan performing at Tokyo Jazz Festival, performed at Wangaratta Jazz Festival with the Luke Howard Trio and the Anton Delecca Quartet and is appearing at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival with the Luke Howard Trio.
Jonathan co-founded the Luke Howard Trio in 2008. The ensemble has produced three albums and become a feature of the Melbourne Jazz scene.
Using a practice research methodology, Jonathan’s longitudinal study into the evolution of musical language in a jazz trio proposes that ongoing performance interaction is central to stimulating new musical growth and engagement.
Bonnie Green is currently in her second year of completing her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba. She has recently been confirmed as a PhD candidate and will begin her data collection in July, 2018. Bonnie’s research is focused on investigating piano teachers’ experiences of using improvisation activities within their one-to-one private teaching studios. Outside of her PhD studies, Bonnie enjoys composing, playing in musicals and performing both as a soloist and in her duo Two of Diamonds. She also enjoys board games and teaching herself how to cook with the help of Google. After completing her PhD studies, Bonnie aspires to continue in academia and in refining her own creative practice. Her interests lie in the areas of music education and creative pedagogy— the combination of creative teaching, creative learning and teaching for creativity—and she aspires to continue research in both of these areas.
Jordan Murray has established a career in many diverse areas of the music industry in Australia. He has been one of Melbourne’s first call trombonists over the past 15 years as well as composing and arranging for a wide variety of situations. Throughout his career, Jordan has always been passionate about music education which has led to his position as Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Monash University. Originally a graduate from WAAPA, Jordan studied at Berklee College of Music with Hal Crook, Phil Wilson and Herb Pomeroy. As a freelance musician performing live concerts and various music festivals, Jordan’s performance career also includes work in television, musical theatre and studio recording.
Fiona Burnett is a musician/composer/ensemble leader/educator and specialist on the soprano saxophone. Fiona has recently submitted her PhD Thesis at The University of Melbourne titled “Identifying and Developing the Personal Voice in Improvised Music.” Fiona has led ensembles since the early 1990s performing at major arts and music festivals in Australia and abroad. She has been an advocate for women in improvised music, founding and co-leading the all-female jazz Quintet Morgana from 1992-1998 and developing ensembles for young women for the Melbourne Women’s Jazz Festival 2001-2004. She has been a member of the Music Board of the Australian Council and has released nine CDs as a leader, four on the ABC label, Fiona has been nominated for APRA and Australian Music Awards, a finalist in the Freedman Fellowship and the recipient of numerous grants from the Australia Council, Arts Victoria and Playing Australia.
Hannah Reardon-Smith (Australia) is an experimental flutist, improviser, composer, conductor, and curator. She is a founding member of art music ensemble Kupka’s Piano, improvisation trio Rogue Three, and electroacoustic duo Richard&Linda. She has performed in international festivals including ManiFESTE (Paris), IMD (Darmstadt, DE), SPOR (Aarhus, DK), Kunstenfestival des Arts (Brussels), BIFEM (Bendigo), Totally Huge New Music Festival (Perth), and the Queensland Music Festival (Brisbane).
Currently, Hannah is a PhD candidate at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, under the supervision of Assoc Prof Vanessa Tomlinson and Dr Louise Denson. Her project is to explore a queer-feminist thinking of free improvisation, and to feature the work and voices of women, trans, and non-binary folk practicing in the field. Recipient of the 2010 James Carson Flute Prize, Hannah freelances as a writer, performer, research assistant, and disability support worker. She blogs at stayandmakekin.wordpress.com and hannahreardonsmith.com.
Robin Ryan connects a broad love of music to an interest in Australia’s natural environments. Following her studies in music at the University of Western Australia and the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, she was awarded an MA (1992) and PhD (1999) from Monash University, Melbourne. Robin’s research in eco- and ethno- musicology is evidenced by articles on the history and practice of Aboriginal gumleaf playing published through her affiliations with Monash University; Macquarie University; and, currently, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University. In the field of jazz, she has researched six articles on singer Judy Jacques, with another forthcoming in Popular Music, Stars and Stardom (ANU Press, 2018). Other recent work appears in Current Directions in Ecomusicology: Music, Culture, Nature (Routledge); Collaborative Ethnomusicology; The Journal of Music Research Online; Environmental Humanities; Societies; Context: A Journal of Music Research; M/C Journal; Perfect Beat; and Sound Scripts.
Andrew Butt is a performer, composer and educator who has been active in the Australian music industry over the last 30 years. He has been prominent on the Queensland’s jazz scene, winning the best jazz work category at the 2013/14 Queensland Music Awards and being shortlisted as a finalist on multiple occasions. Other accolades include a Churchill Fellowship and performing as a jazz soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Andrew Butt Trio + performs in a variety of formats and has featured at festivals and venues including the Brisbane Powerhouse, JMI Live, Bennetts Lane, Paris Cat the Valley Jazz Festival and the Brisbane International Jazz Festival. Andrew has been mentored by a diverse range of artists including George Garzone, Chris Cheek, Bill McHenry and Branford Marsalis. He has toured extensively as a performer, educator and director of ensembles throughout Australia and internationally to Indonesia, New Zealand, China, Europe and North America.
Aleisha Ward is the 2017 Douglas Lilburn Research Fellow and a recipient of the 2018 Ministry of Culture and Heritage New Zealand History Research Trust award investigating the Jazz Age in New Zealand. She was one of the first graduates of the Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance) at the University of Auckland, holds a Masters of Arts degree in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University (2006), and a PhD in Music from the University of Auckland where her thesis was on jazz in New Zealand 1920-1955. Aleisha is an award- winning writer, and is also a freelance editor, and lecturer in music history. She writes about jazz in New Zealand for a number of publications including audioculture.co.nz and New Zealand Musician, and on her own blog NZ Jazz (nzjazz.wordpress.com).
Joe O’Connor is among Australia’s most accomplished improvising pianists and composers. His music skirts the boundaries of jazz and art music in both improvised and notated disciplines. He has won the prestigious National Jazz Award (2013), the Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Musician of the Year (2014), the National Big Band Composition Competition (2011), and was the PBS Young Elder of Jazz in 2016. He also performed as a finalist in the
John Whiteoak is an Adjunct Professor in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash
University. He specializes in the history of early (1830s-1970s) popular music and dance in
Australia, including minstrelsy, ragtime, jazz and Latin. He authored the first history of
improvisatory music in Australia (Playing Ad Lib, 1999), was co-general editor and the major
contributor to the Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia (2003) and has also
produced numerous publications on Hispanic and continental European music and dance
2016 Freedman Jazz Fellowship. Joe holds a Bachelor of Music with first class honours from the Queensland Conservatorium and a PhD in music performance from Monash University, where he researched ways that Ruth Crawford Seeger’s approach to dissonant counterpoint can inform jazz composition and improvisation.
Joe’s recent works include The Past in My Present (2017), a chamber composition for Arts Centre Melbourne’s 5x5x5 initiative, and Partial Disclosure, which was commissioned by the Australian Creative Music Ensemble (ACME) for their inaugural performance at Melbourne Festival 2017. Joe’s String Quartet, Vignettes, will be premiered by Penny Quartet at the Melbourne Recital Centre in September.
Tim Willis is a jazz guitarist, composer and researcher. He studied music performance at the Australian National University under the tutelage of Mike Price and George Golla. In 2017 Tim completed his PhD studies at Monash University. His project, The Development of Manipulative Aural Skills in Improvising Musicians via Mental Practice during Performance Preparation, examined how improvising musicians develop the ability to mentally improvise, while away from the instrument, and how doing so affects their approach to improvisation. Highlights from Tim’s performing Career include performances at the Vannes International Jazz Festival in 2012, Melbourne International Jazz Festival in 2013 as well as multiple performances at Jazz clubs such as Duc Des Lombards (Paris) and Melbourne’s own Bennetts Lane, the Paris Cat and the Uptown Jazz Café. Tim has been recipient of awards including the 2012 PBS106.9 Young Elder of Jazz Commission, the Australian Postgraduate Award and the 2014 Yamaha Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Performance.
Paul Williamson: Trumpeter, composer and educator, Paul Williamson, has established a reputation for producing distinctive recordings of outstanding ensemble performances. He has released eleven CD’s as a leader, and has performed at festivals and venues in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia with numerous jazz greats, including Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Eddie Palmieri, Tomasz Stańko, Kenny Werner, John Abercrombie, Hermeto Pascoal, Aaron Goldberg, Bill Carothers, Dave Liebman, Reggie Washington, Paul Wertico, Django Bates, Nasheet Waits and Mark Helias. In 2014 Williamson was invited by Dave Douglas to perform at the Festival for New Trumpet Music (FONT) in New York City where he premiered a program of new compositions. Williamson is the Honours coordinator and lecturer in jazz studies at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.
Andy Sugg is a saxophonist who performs regularly throughout Australia and internationally. He features on numerous recordings and leads an ensemble that specialises in a fusion of jazz and popular styles. Sugg is also a musicologist, attached to the University of Melbourne and the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University. He has lectured at the Manhattan School of Music, the World Saxophone Congress and elsewhere. Sugg has written for The Times Literary Supplement, the International Society for Jazz Research (Graz), and Music Forum, the journal of the Music Council of Australia. His
book The Influence of John Coltrane on Improvising Saxophonists, has been praised by leading US jazz scholar, Prof David Demsey, describing it as “an analytical masterpiece.” Sugg was a consultant for Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, the first feature
length film of its kind, directed by John Scheinfeld and “Crew Neck Productions” (Los Angeles).
Lauren Istvandity is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. Her expertise lies in the areas of music heritage and memory studies. Her current research on Queensland jazz heritage is conducted in conjunction with the John Oxley Library Fellowship, State Library of Queensland of which she was the recipient in 2017. She has published across popular music, heritage, and cultural studies platforms, and has two books forthcoming: her monograph The Lifetime Soundtrack: Music and Autobiographical Memory (Equinox, expected late 2018), and the co-edited collection Routledge Handbook to Popular Music History and Heritage (with Sarah Baker and Catherine Strong, Routledge, expected early 2018).
Phil Sandford is an independent jazz researcher living in Sydney. He has contributed to AustralianJazz.net.
Phillip Johnston has intertwined lives as a jazz musician, composer and academic. He is best known as the co-leader of The Microscopic Septet and Fast ‘N’ Bulbous. His film scores include Kathryn Millard’s Shock Room (2015), Henry Bean’s Noise (2008), Paul Mazursky’s Faithful (1996), Philip Haas’ The Music of Chance (1993) & Doris Dörrie’s Geld (1989). He has been creating original scores for silent films since 1993, beginning with Tod Browning’s The Unknown (1927). He completed his PhD at the University of Newcastle in 2015, and currently teaches at the Australian Institute of Music.