Jazz studies colloquium to explore idea of 'Place'

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

LAWRENCE — Scholars and artists from a variety of disciplines will explore the idea of “place” in creative improvisation during a colloquium during a series of events next week at the University of Kansas.

Improvising in Place: An Interdisciplinary Jazz Studies Colloquium will feature lectures, a film screening and performance from 8 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Monday, March 2, at The Commons, Spooner Hall, and from 2-5:30 p.m. at the Hall Center for the Humanities.

Organizer Sherrie Tucker, professor of American studies, said she is especially impressed with the breadth of presenters.

“Improvisation isn’t a free-for-all; it requires great sensitivity to identifying and exploring parameters, finding new possibilities within them, sometimes bending them and sometimes traveling them in ways that change what they mean,” she said. “This colloquium calls attention to the places and spaces of jazz and other improvisational practices. I’m really excited by the many ways that presenters interpreted 'place' in their submissions: everything from venue, neighborhood, genre, institution, nation, markets, virtual space. “

Papers presented in the morning will cover the effects of particular urban and rural social geographies of race, nation, ethnicity, gender and other factors on sounds, venues and styles.

Afternoon events at the Hall Center will begin with film clips and discussion from Kevin Willmott, KU professor and filmmaker, on the days — not so long ago — when jazz was not allowed at KU and students could get kicked out of the practice rooms for playing it.

Visiting Big XII Fellow Charles Carson, from the University of Texas-Austin musicology and ethnomusicology faculty, will deliver the keynote talk, titled “Philadelphia Stories: Race, Place and the Jazz Geography of the City of Brotherly Love.” Carson's interests are African-American/American expressive cultures, popular music, jazz, film music, and music and culture. The Place, Race, and Space Hall Center Seminar is co-sponsoring his talk.

A performance by KU Jazz Combo I will highlight Philadelphia jazz selections and prove irrefutably that jazz is alive and well in the practice rooms at KU today.

A full schedule of events can be found at https://hallcenter.ku.edu/jazz. This event is free and open to the public.

This event is co-sponsored by The Commons at the University of Kansas, the Hall Center for the Humanities, the School of Music, the KU Jazz Festival, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Department of American Studies, the Department of Dance, the KU Interdisciplinary Jazz Studies Group, the Hall Center Place, Race, and Space Seminar, AUMI-KU InterArts, the Big XII Faculty Fellowship and the Keeler Intra-University Professorship.