by carl wilson

Conduction Junction, What's Your Funktion?

Greg Tate conducts Burnt Sugar at the Bowery Poetry Club in September. Photo by Peter Gannushkin.

Prior to next Thursday's gig by New York's Bitches' Brew-wrestles-Sun Ra-on-Funkadelic's-trampoline ensemble Burnt Sugar at the Lula Lounge, there's going to be a workshop in which leader Greg Tate (perhaps the writer most responsible for making me want to do music criticism - get this book back in print!) and members of his "mojosexual cotillion" will school Torontonians in the fine art of "conduction," the alphabet of hand and baton gestures developed by Butch Morris to turn conducting into a method of improvised composition. It's a participatory workshop (bring your instruments), starts at 6:30 pm on March 26, and entry is $20 (or $30 with a ticket to the show, which otherwise would run $20 on its own) and spaces are limited: To register, holler at synaptic_circus at yahoo dot com.

Which reminds me that I haven't gotten around to touting Dave Clark's recent book, How to Conduct ... Yourself!, a more laid-back rundown of creative conducting techniques by the drummer and leader of Toronto's own Woodchoppers' Association, the anarchic improvising orchestra. It's an entertaining intro (with bright full-colour photographs of Clark cheerfully demonstrating his moves) to conducting for the baton-shy, and does a great job illustrating what creative guidance can add to ensemble playing. It makes you want to start conducting everyone you know - do the dishes more sweetly!, bring the conversation to a crescendo now!.

Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, March 18 at 4:49 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



Apparently there is a Greg Tate Reader in the works.

Posted by Matos W.K. on March 18, 2008 10:53 PM



Christine Duncan also deserves praise for her wonderful conduction-based work with her Element Choir, particularly throughout their Somewhere There residency in January and February. Christine's gestural system is cobbled together from many sources like Butch Morris, Cobra, and Anthony Braxton, but has evolved into distinctly her own language through the manifold contingencies of performance and her creative responses to them.

It brings to mind, when I played with the London Improvisers Orchestra in 2006 (another of Christine's sources and a long-standing and truly excellent conduction/improvisation ensemble), how some of the musicians seemed slightly concerned when no new cues were introduced during the pre-concert workshop. It suggested to me that they viewed the fixing of the conduction system as a consolidation into orthodoxy and thus a harbinger of creative stagnation.

By the way, Christine is hosting three Mondays of open/pwyw rehearsals with her choir at ST, starting on 24 March, 7pm. These will serve as useful counterpoint to the (highly recommended) Burnt Sugar workshop.

Posted by Somewhere There on March 18, 2008 8:54 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson