by carl wilson

Guelph Jazzblog, 1.i

Eugene Chadbourne, one of the guests at this year's Guelph Jazz Festival. (Sorry for the generic image - I haven't a digital camera. This on-the-spot blogging is new to me.)

Well, here I am sprawled on the grass outside the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, having just arrived for Day 3 of the annual Guelph Jazz Festival, a small but exuberantly innovative little event now in its 12th year. As long as I can pirate a wireless signal (I've got a wavering one now), I'll be live-blogging from the event today and tomorrow. The expected climax is tomorrow night's appearance by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, but there's a lot more on the bill, including Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra playing in about half an hour with a trio of Ontario musicians (see the schedule by clicking through the link above). I arrived toward the end of the 10:30 a.m. workshop "Of Other Spaces: Improvised Geographies," which seemed to involve stationing various musicians around the MSAC's two floors and letting the audience wander between performances - there seemed to be less circulation by the musicians, which would have been more exciting, spontaneously generating ensembles, but since I was only there for about 15 minutes, there may have been more wandering minstrelsy than I got to see. Still it was a pleasure to wander up to the 2nd floor and discover Matana Roberts (from Chicago group Sticks & Stones) playing resonant solo sax in the midst of Gordon Monahon's amplifier-cabinet installation, then move further back through the galleries and happen upon Rob Clutton and Eugene Chadbourne playing a jaunty bass and banjo duet - in the middle of a laid-out vegetarian buffet luncheon provided by the festival (roasted peppers and onions and potatoes, etc). Shortly after I wandered in, the rest of the audience did as well, while Rob & Eugene kicked out a climactic jig - a nice illustration of the community feeling of the Guelph fest at its best.

As for Guelph at its not-so-best: I'm looking forward to the afternoon discussion, "Roundtable on Listening: The Audience Speaks Out," which seems to be part of a general response to last year's memorable fiasco during the Sainkho Namtchylak appearance here, the theme in the academic component of this year's event, "Improvising Matters: Rights, Risks, Responsibilities." The festival's whole reaction to the fallout from last year has been in the a passive mode, sidelong rather than an open accounting for the issues raised there, but at least they are giving it thought. (If you're interested in the background, check out my posts after last year's festival.) I wish I could have attended more of the colloquium, which began Wednesday morning - every year Guelph makes me wish I had taken the whole week off to spend here, but the expense of getting a hotel room all week restrains me.

Anyway, hope this festival diary will interest jazz-inclined Zoilus readers, and that the rest of you bear with us till normal programming resumes Monday.

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Friday, September 09 at 11:43 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)



actually the record we were trying to get our ears around was "guitar solos 3" by fred frith...

Posted by rob clutton on September 14, 2005 3:08 PM



Rob Clutton playing with Eugene Chadbourne! I remember when we in high school, Rob and me listening with great bemusement to a Chadbourne record called Guitar Solos No. 2.


Posted by Mike Daley on September 10, 2005 1:51 PM



AEC may be the climax, but I hope you stick around for Supersilent as the coda... I'd love to hear how that show goes. I'm busy with the film fest, else I'd be up in Guelph.

enjoy, Chris

Posted by Chris K on September 10, 2005 7:40 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson