The organising committee met at Amsterdam Conservatory in late September 2016 to reflect on the Birmingham conference at Easter, and to discuss the theme and call for papers for our 2017 conference…. Announcement imminent, but do note the 2017 dates below! The committee consists of (L-R in photo) Dr Loes Rusch (BCU), Dr Christa-Bruckner-Haring (Graz), Prof Tony Whyton (BCU), Prof Nick Gebhardt (BCU), Prof Walter van de Leur (Amsterdam) and ace photographer Prof George McKay (UEA).
You may have had the opportunity to view the One LP Project exhibition by William Ellis at the conference, consisting large portraits in the atrium area and a series of photographs adjacent to the lecture theatre.
One LP is a unique and critically acclaimed portraiture photography project that explores the inspirational qualities of music recordings and the impact that they have on people’s lives. It consists a portrait of an artist with a favourite recording. Each photograph is accompanied by a short interview that explores the meaning and value to the subject.
The One LP project is offered as a bespoke art event consisting of a pop up exhibition with seminar/workshop options.The presentation concept has been developed to appeal to arts, music, literary organisations and educational settings.
The flexibility of its presentation modes means that an event can be tailored to your programme, either as a stand-alone or as an integrated activity.
More details – http://onelp.org/the-one-lp-experience/ http://www.europejazz.net/articles/one-lp-project
To enquire contact William Ellis – email@example.com
Images from William’s extensive jazz portfolio – http://william-ellis.com/
“One LP is a marvellous idea, superbly executed. The range of subjects (human and musical) is wide indeed, often surprising, sometimes touching, always interesting. May it go on and on!”
Dan Morgenstern, Director Emeritus, Rutgers – Institute of Jazz Studies, NEA Jazz Master.
This photo is Copyright © William Ellis. All rights reserved.
The very few remaining Rhythm Changes: Jazz Utopia conference t-shirts are now available online through BCU’s online store. Please click here.
Sizes are limited so order now to avoid disappointment.
‘The only jazz utopias we can know are the ones we have lost’—Krin Gabbard
‘More’s Utopia rests on an underclass, which resonates with jazz history, slavery…’—Alyn Shipton
At the wonderfully rich and varied (as well layered, nuanced and intermittently Guelphian) 4th Rhythm Changes international conference in jazz in Birmingham a number of different versions and glimpses of what might be thought of as the idea or problem of utopia in relation to jazz have been offered. Here are ones I heard and thought of from the four brilliant days. Others that you heard/spoke/glimpsed/played? There must be. Please do contribute! Together they give a sense of how utopian thinking can inform jazz studies, perhaps of the limits of utopia thinking, perhaps of the limits of utopian thinking in jazz and musicology.
- Space of jazz (especially in repressive regimes)—for instance, jazz happening in underground clubs, multiracial spaces in racist societies, jazz dance floor as site of pleasure and freedom. Also jazz and festivals, and the utopian possibility of transformation at festival.
- Jazz challenges in its early days: the music’s reception in the early 20th century in for example European countries to national categories of identity and national (cultural) institutions. Jazz changed what it meant to be German, French, British, say.
- Jazz as diasporic cultural practice and its relation to utopia (utopia = no place = transit culture, rooted in initially Atlantic middle passage). Also other later nomadic narratives.
- Related social cultural practices and metaphors of sociality (food, dancing, though I didn’t hear much about sex, which I thought strange).
- Jazz as music for social justice—the radical as well as liberal politics of the music. From civil rights to Breathless, as well as the music’s place in activism in countries outside the US.
- Jazz as transnational music, exploring and making dialogue between and across nations.
- Jazz and childhood: innocence (?), playfulness (we saw merry-go-rounds and swings at jazz festivals–yes, jazz swings!), toy pianos.
- Utopia not as perfect but as imperfect: flaunted imperfection of (instrumental) technique in some musics (some free improvisation, some trad jazz).
- Jazz as dystopian sound: one early reviewer described it as possessing ‘the buzzing rattle of a machine gun, only not so musical’.
- Utopian strands in the music itself? Something utopian in the sounds themselves, the dialogic process of the bandstand, the collective, and in the (live) music’s improvisational impermanence.
- & magic? Black magic?
And I thought of this too: what about the conference itself as a utopian intellectual (social, cultural) compressed time-space—we here at Rhythm Changes are in a ‘good place’ for jazz research, one we thought up (dreamed) then made with you over the past 6-7 years. (OK, I am writing this at the very end of the conference so am both bleary-eyed and wearing rose-tinted glasses: such a view needs qualifying by reminding ourselves that utopia is also functionally exclusive; we need to acknowledge the event’s dominant whiteness and the notable male presence of delegates.)
Birmingham boasts a wide range of independent restaurants and bars. Click here to for a link to Independent Birmingham’s website, which offers summaries of the eateries available in Birmingham.
Recommended by Nick:
Cherry Red– John Bright Street, City Centre
Bill’s– Bullring Shopping Centre
Brew Dog- John Bright Street, City Centre