GJFC 2018 banner Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium 2018

Hovering at the Edge: Words, Music, Sound, and Song

Guelph, Ontario, Canada
September 12-15, 2018

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Hovering at the Edge: Words, Music, Sound, and Song, this year’s Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, will feature curated panels, speakers, and performances, with participants riffing on the interplay among words, music, sound, and song.

The Colloquium is hosted by IICSI in partnership with the Guelph Jazz Festival, the University of Guelph, Central Student Association, CFRU-FM, Guelph Film Festival, Eden Mills Writers Festival, and the Art Gallery of Guelph

Brent Hayes Edwards

Brent Hayes Edwards

In his book Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination, keynote speaker Brent Hayes Edwards attests to the vibrant and compelling history of interplay in African American art-making and performance between sound and writing. Drawing specifically on transmedial encounters in jazz that “[hover] at the edge” of language, and literary texts that aspire to the condition of music, Edwards explores the ways in which “the practice of one medium can be inspired, provoked, or extended by an attention to the specificities of another.” 

Edwards will present his digital restoration of the legendary 16mm short film Sweet Willie Rollbar’s Orientation, originally made and scored by saxophonist Julius Hemphill in 1972 during his keynote on Friday, September 14. The film also features poet K. Curtis Lyle, actor Malinke Elliott, and other members of the Black Artists’ Group of St. Louis. Following the screening, Edwards will contextualize the film among the Black Artists’ Group and in relation to other black experiments in multimedia aesthetics in the early 1970s.

Emerging Scholars Program

Inspired by an initiative developed by our friends and colleagues at the ArtsEverywhere Festival, and in partnership with the University of Guelph, the Colloquium invites students and community members to join our inaugural Emerging Scholars Program. This program offers up to ten individuals (from all levels of study) an opportunity to participate in the program and engage with participants.

Selected scholars will receive tickets to Guelph Jazz Festival performances, an intimate 2-hour “emerging scholars breakfast” with panelists, presenters, and other distinguished guests including Lawrence Hill, and an opportunity to publish insights gained at the Festival and Colloquium on the IICSI website.

Emerging scholars will be expected to attend colloquium events and write a short reflection piece on their experience. Please complete the online form if you’re interested in joining this program.


Wednesday, September 12

5:00 pm | Reception and Exhibition Launch – Sounding the City 003: Guelph

2018 Improvisers-in-Residence Jen Reimer and Max Stein’s ongoing project, Sounding the City, is dedicated to re-imagining the urban soundscape through site-specific installations and acoustic interventions. These installations emerge from their surroundings and occur in the environments themselves. They invite our ears to focus on the music of the places we find ourselves in, and draw our gaze towards characteristics of urban environments that might otherwise go unnoticed. Co-presented by Musagetes (artseverywhere.ca)
Boarding House Arts, 2nd floor, 6 Dublin St. South + site-specific installations throughout Guelph

9:30 pm | SUNG RA – Post-Concert Talk Back

Rory Magill, Christine Duncan, and Rainbow Chorus (Ontario)
Guelph Little Theatre

Thursday, September 13

12:00 pm | Concert – Co-presented by the College of Arts
Thursday at Noon (TAN) Concert: Augustí Fernández (Spain)
Goldschmidt Room (Room 107), MacKinnon Building, University of Guelph

2:00 pm | Roundtable – Improvisation in Music and Words
Kevin McNeilly (University of British Columbia), Sara Villa (John Abbott College), Rob Wallace (Northern Arizona University), Paul Watkins (Vancouver Island University)
IICSI Researchers specializing in the intersections of music and words will gather to discuss the synergetic relationship of improvised music making and poetic composition. Kevin McNeilly, published poet, blog editor and site co-ordinator for IICSI at UBC joins Sara Villa, Italian translator of Kerouac’s On the Road, Rob Wallace, percussionist and author of Improvisation and the Making of American Literary Modernism, and Paul Watkins whose doctoral dissertation focuses on music and text as a border-crossing praxis.
Silence, 46 Essex St.

3:30 pm | Panel – Rising Up Off the Page: Jazz and Poetry
Vilde Aaslid (University of Rhode Island) – With Urgent Words: Political Poetry and Jazz in 2018
Meta DuEwa Jones (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Interdisciplinary music scholar Vilde Aaslid will examine two recent compositions of poetry and music, Flesh & Bone by Mike Reed and Transformations Suite by Samora Pinderhughes, asking how each reflects shifts in genre politics, while drawing upon black radical tradition to create musicopoetic works that are entirely of now.

Scholar Meta DuEwa Jones will focus on contemporary poetry that emanates from listening to sacred sounds, signs and songs of the jazz instrumentalists and composers Mary Lou Williams and Alice Coltrane.
Silence, 46 Essex St.

5:00 pm | Reception and Exhibition Launch – Crepuscule
Performance by Douglas R. Ewart & Rita Warford (USA) and Kathryn Ladano (Ontario)
10C’s 4th floor gallery will feature a new multimedia exhibit by musician and multidisciplinary artist Douglas R. Ewart, created during his time as the 2015-2016 Improviser-in-Residence in Guelph and Waterloo.  The event will feature a performance by Ewart in collaboration with vocalist Rita Warford and bass clarinetist Kathryn Ladano.
10C, 42 Carden St.

Friday, September 14

9:00 | Interview
Dionne Brand (University of Guelph) interviewed by Winston Smith (Seneca College)
Co-presented with the Eden Mills Writer’s Festival

Award winning author Dionne Brand will discuss her two new works The Blue Clerk: Ars Poetica in 59 Versos and Theory in conversation with Winston Smith.
Lecture Room, Art Gallery of Guelph

10:30 | Keynote – Sweet Willie Rollbar’s Orientation
Brent Hayes Edwards (Columbia University)
Co-presented with the Guelph Film Festival

Edwards will present his digital restoration of the legendary short film Sweet Willie Rollbar’s Orientation (1972), featuring an original soundtrack by saxophonist Julius Hemphill, placing the film in the context of the Black Artists’ Group, and in relation to other black experiments in multimedia aesthetics.
Lecture Room, Art Gallery of Guelph

Noon | Concert – Co-presented by the Central Student Association
CSA Noon-Hour Concert: Thanya Iyer (Québec)
Branion Plaza, University of Guelph

4:00 | Artist Panel 
Darius Jones (USA), Emilie Lesbros (France), Amirtha Kidambi (USA), & Thanya Iyer (Québec)
Moderator: Kevin McNeilly
Jazz Festival artists will gather to reflect on the interplay between words and music. Drawing upon a wealth of experience presenting lyrical material in combination with improvised and composed performances, panel participants will share their understanding of how these two mediums combine and influence each other in the execution of jazz musicking. Saxophonist Darius Jones joins collaborating vocalists Emile Lesbros and Amirtha Kidambi, alongside band leader Thanya Iyer for a rare opportunity of knowledge transfer from a panel with a unique perspective on implementing the connection between sound and song.
Silence, 46 Essex. St.

5:30 | Concert
Darius Jones & Amirtha Kidambi (USA)
Silence, 46 Essex. St.

Saturday, September 15

9:00 | Emerging Scholars Breakfast
Special breakfast for selected scholars with colloquium panelists, presenters, and other distinguished guests including Lawrence Hill.

1:00 | Concert
KidsAbility Youth Ensemble with SlowPitchSound
Co-presented by KidsAbility and Rainbow Camp
Market Square Stage, Carden St.

7:00 | Pre-concert Talkback
Jean Derome & Karen Young (Québec)
Guelph Youth Music Centre, 75 Cardigan St.

All events are free and open to the public.

This colloquium is generously sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Art Gallery of Guelph, the Office of the Vice-President (Research), the Office of the Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs), the School of English and Theatre Studies, the College of Arts, CFRU-FM, and the Central Student Association at the University of Guelph. Special thanks also to the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, the Guelph Film Festival, and the Bookshelf for their support.