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The big season wrap up!

After a few days of decompression from a very intense March, April and May. I'm back. The moment SNS finished up I swung into production mode with Gwen Noah and her 20th anniversary retrospective show "Here". It was more concentrated work, but very satisfying to play a wide range of music, overcome technical hurdles and get three opportunities to play music for dancers. Working with Gwen is always a amazing and getting to add Lisa Phinney and Susanne Chui to the mix, made for even more fun.

So now after a few excellent bike rides, capped with a roll past Peggys Cove today, I'm feeling the need to encapsulate. It was quite a great season, on e of my favourites so far. So much happened that this is a good excuse for me to plumb the memory banks and remember all we accomplished! The season began with Nilan Perera, the first artist to tour through Circuit, a group of presenters, helping others to tour, that Nilan has originated. Nilan is a guitartist from Toronto, and has been playing creative music for ages. My distinct memory is a piece that he played where he prepared the guitar in such a way the it sounded like a tabla. Quite wonderful. Next up was Sensitive, with Miya Masaoka, Adam Linson and myself. This was exciting for me because of my interest in the koto, and to get to play with both Miya and Adam. The work we did was very focussed and structured. We really rehearsed and the music we played reflected that. The concert at The Bus Stop was fun and well attended. Okay now I'm having to refer to my calendar to remember.... Oh yeah, Geordie Haley, D'Arcy Gray and I went to Sackville NB to play a concert celebrating the Canadian Music Centre's 20th Anniversary in the A tlantic region. This a fun show because I got to play with 2 really great musicians. Even though we didn't rehearse, the combined musicality of the trio resulted in the kind of musical miracle that draws me to improvised music! We just made the music. Or maybe it made itself..... Next was Wireless, our first telematic concert with 3 cellists here and Chris Chafe in California. This show was a real technical challenge, trying to get everything working as planned. We did manage moments before showtime to get everything up and running. No sound check or chance to rehearse together! The three locals did however, and we develop some nice pieces to perform together. Our rehearsal process was nice as we spread them out over several weeks and could really reflect on things and develop the music much more as a result. I'm not sure if this all was represented in the concert, but having Chris with us, calling us all "astronauts" for trying this form of collaboration, was nice! And I learn ed a lot about the profundity of telematic collaboration, and will be working to continue this next season. Okay, next was the Canadian New Music Network Forum in Halifax which was another great experience. During this weekend I got to meet presenters and musicians from all over Canada, listen to them speak about their ideas, sling beers with them and generally put faces to names. Tim Crofts, Lukas Pearse and I played a really satisfying set on one of the concerts, and we agreed that it was a stacked audience! It's not often we have so many knowledgeable listeners in one room. Then Timeless Pulses. The room is always filled with the presence of Jerry Granelli and this was no exemption! He is a force of nature. Tim, Geordie and I just had to show up to be guaranteed great music making! (Well, actually we could have NOT showed up and Jerry could have handled it....) The audience was good, the art work (rather erotic in nature ) that surrounded in us The Saint Mary's University Art Gallery was stimulating, and the music was great. Open Source 2 featured Eric Normand a young bassist from the improvised music hotbed of Rimouski, Quebec. Eric was also a Circuit artist, and he played solo (very loud and noisy) and with Arthur Bull, Tim , Lukas and myself (very sensitively and musically). This was a neat concert because the group was very good, the chance to meet and play with Eric was nice, and the music was very interesting, very effectively inhabiting the "acoustic/processed hybrid" sound world, that I have been interested in for so long. Then came Chants d'Oiseaux, not that long ago! (I remember this one) Jean Derome. Ah Jean, what an artist! Every sound was in the right place, expressing something wonderful, or funny, or sad. Daniel Heikalo played so many instruments, with such a mastery and sense of exploration. My favourite memory was loop I had running was picked up by Jean and then again by me, but in real time, it became a lovely closer to a piece. The listening was sharp and the concert was wonderful. I felt so good about this one. Finally, exhausted, I listened to the final show of the season, Open Source 3 which showcased the musicians of the Improv Workshop. And I really recommend sitting back and listening to these people. The breadth of music, and the variety of sounds coming from this full cross section of society was nothing short of amazing! It was so great to just listen (and make the groups up). Which brings me to the Workshop. In it's 5th year. Amazing, and the source of our success too -Just sticking with it. This year the Workshop experienced a sort of renaissance, with some new young people discovering us, dipping their ears into this free improvised music for the first time. And Arthur Bull moved to town. Arthur is a serious player, having performed and collaborated all over the world for a long time. His presence and experience really took the focus of the workshop up a notch or two. And he had a great time too, discovering our little scene and becoming part of it. As well we opened the facilitation of the sessions to others beside Tim and me. Geordie, Lukas, Ken Aldcroft, and Nilan all lead session, all offering different points of view. I learned a lot and I think the sharing of information help all of us a lot! I could certainly hear it in the music making. So there it is. I have to thank so many people for this full season of work. Tim for the workshops, Barbara for the brainstorming and grant reading , Bruce Klinger for the numbers help, the board for offering advice and support, even though I didn't always take it. Sue for taking up the slack and being an enabler. The Canada Council and the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage for letting this little miracle continue. And teh workshop goers and concert goers throughout the season. C'mon back! Give me you email addresses so I can pester you! There will be much more in our Tenth Year 2010/2011! Now I will go to New York with Sue and friends, (this weekend!) then I will go to France to visit, ride and work with Sebastian Lexer again! During that time I will be making some postings to let you know how my rides are going, and work with Seb too! Keep your eyes on this blog. Mid-summer I'll start letting you know details about next years shows! Very exciting!

May 18, 2010 at 21:25

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