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).
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
With the conference fast approaching, we are pleased to announce the conference schedule for this year’s Rhythm Changes conference. Please click on the link below to view a PDF schedule. Schedules will also be provided as part of the conference booklet, available upon registration.
Registration for Rhythm Changes: Jazz Utopia through the Eventbrite has now closed. If you are still waiting to pay the delegate fee, this will be possible at the conference venue from Friday morning onwards. Please ask the conference support staff on the registration table to provide you with more information. Day tickets are available on the day, priced at £45. Card and cash payments will be accepted and receipts available.
Registration opens on Thursday the 14th of April at 5pm in the foyer of BCU’s Parkside Building, City Centre Campus and will continue throughout the conference from 8.30am on Friday. All conference delegates are invited to attend the reception on Thursday evening (6-9pm), also to be held in the Parkside foyer.
External delegates will be provided with Wi-Fi log in details (to be found on the back of your name badge) and all delegates will receive a conference pack.
The fourth Rhythm Changes conference, Jazz Utopia, will take place at Birmingham City University from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 April 2016.
Nicholas Gebhardt and the conference committee are pleased to invite all conference delegates to attend the opening reception of Rhythm Changes IV – Jazz Utopia, between 18.00 and 21.00 on Thursday 14 April 2016 at:
The Parkside Building (Atrium)
Birmingham City University
5 Cardigan Street
Award winning alto-saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians in both the British jazz and hip hop scenes. Undoubtedly, one of the few artists in either genre with a degree in Modern History from Oxford University he has amassed an impressive list of accolades and awards on both sides of the Atlantic – including a Mercury Music Prize nomination, two UMA Awards and a MOBO for best Jazz Act in 2003. In October 2007, he won his second MOBO Award, at the O2 Arena, London where he was announced as the winner in the Best Jazz Act category- fending off stiff competition from the likes of Wynton Marsalis.
His skills as a hip hop MC and producer have also garnered him recognition in the urban music world: having supported the likes of KRS ONE, Dwele and TY, and being championed by the likes of Mos Def, Rodney P and BBC 1-Xtra’s Twin B.
Kinch’s projects also extend beyond recorded albums. Writing the score for Jonzi D’s Hip Hop Theatre production Markus the Sadist (2010), and Sampad’s In The Further Soil (2010), a dance-theatre. Kinch also wrote and acted in the latter piece, which toured throughout India for a month.
Jazz Utopia are pleased to present the plenary performances for Rhythm Changes 2016. Buses will transport delegates from the conference site to the venues, as noted in the conference schedule (available in delegate pack). Tickets for both performances are included within the delegate pack. Saturday night’s performance will follow the conference supper, hosted at Bar Utopia- please sign up for the conference supper by clicking here.
Sean Gibb’s MOSAIC
Friday 15 April 5-6:30pm – Symphony Hall Café Bar
MOSAIC is a band led by Sean Gibbs featuring some of the most exciting players from the Birmingham jazz scene. They play compositions of Sean’s that encompass influences from the jazz tradition alongside the earthy grooves of blues, rock and whatever else takes their fancy.
Sean Gibbs – Trumpet
Ben Lee – Guitar
Andy Bunting – Piano
Nick Jurd – Bass
Euan Palmer – Drums
Mike Fletcher Jazz Orchestra
Saturday 16 April 8pm – Adrian Boult Hall
Multi-Instrumentalist and composer Mike Fletcher leads his 12 piece jazz orchestra in a performance featuring the premiere of a ne
work written by the acclaimed Scottish composer Anna Meredith.
Alongside this new work the orchestra will perform music written by their leader whose primary interest is in balancing composition with improvisation, creating music that has a “free-wheeling, experimental atmosphere and the real vibrancy that music being created in the moment can have.”
As a nominee for the ECHO Rising Stars 2014/2015 programme Mike Fletcher has recently appeared at the Barbican Centre as part of the London Jazz Festival, Hamburg’s Laiezhalle and the CBSO Centre in Birmingham.
Anna Meredith is a composer, producer and performer of both acoustic and electronic, whose sound is frequently described as maximalist and uncategorisable. Her music has been performed everywhere from the BBC Last Night of the Proms to flashmob body-percussion performances in the M6 Services, PRADA fashion campaigns, numerous films, installations and documentaries, pop festivals, clubs and classical concert halls worldwide and broadcast on Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6.
Performances Birmingham Limited gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Britten-Pears Foundation, the Hinrichsen Foundation, John Feeney Charitable Trust, and PRS for Music Foundation.
Jazz Classics: Revisiting classic texts in jazz studies
Sunday 17th April
In our final session of Rhythm Changes: Jazz Utopia Alyn Shipton and Krin Gabbard – chaired by Fiona Talkington – will revisit classic texts in jazz studies.
Alyn Shipton was Consultant Editor of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, and as an oral historian has edited the memoirs of Danny Barker, Doc Cheatham, George Shearing, Chris Barber, and most recently Billy J. Kramer. His book Groovin’ High, the life of Dizzy Gillespie, won the 1999 ARSC award for the best research of the year. His books on songwriter Jimmy McHugh and bandleader Cab Calloway were both finalists in the ARSC awards. Alyn’s most recent full-length biography, Nilsson, The Life of a Singer-Songwriter, won a Deems Taylor award as best pop biography of 2013 and the year’s ARSC award for pop music research.
His New History of Jazz, published in 2001, was Jazz Journalists’ Book of the Year, and won the Jazz Writer of the Year title in the British Jazz Awards. A revised edition appeared in 2007. Alyn read English Language and Literature at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He later went on to take a PhD in music history at Oxford Brookes University. He has been a lecturer in music at Brookes (2002/3), and at City University (2012/13). He is now a Research Fellow and lecturer in Jazz History at the Royal Academy of Music.
Krin Gabbard taught comparative literature and cultural studies at Stony Brook University from 1981 until 2014. He is now an adjunct professor of jazz studies at Columbia University where he teaches courses such as “Jazz and American Culture.” He is also busy playing his trumpet in a swing band and writing a memoir about his parents. His books include Better Git It in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus (2016), Hotter Than That: The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture (2008), Black Magic: White Hollywood and African American Culture (2004), and Jammin’ at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema (1996). His two edited collections, Jazz Among the Discourses and Representing Jazz were published by Duke University Press in 1995. He is also editor-in-chief of Oxford University Press’s online bibliography of Cinema and Media Studies and a consultant on the J-Disc project, a new online jazz discography with exhaustive information about individual jazz recordings.
Fiona Talkington is a UK-based broadcaster, writer and speaker, best known to radio audiences as founding presenter of BBC Radio 3’s award winning “Late Junction”. Fiona has presented for the BBC since 1989 working across a wide range of programmes, from Breakfast, to live broadcasts from the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and London’s premier chamber music venues Wigmore Hall and LSO St Luke’s. She has broadcast from Womad, Music around Europe days for the EBU, from the Royal Opera House, the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican and many of the UK’s leading venues.
Fiona works extensively as a curator in the UK and Norway: at Kings Place curating Scene Norway, Scene Norway 2 and Eesti Fest, and has curated Voices Across the World at the Royal Opera House. She devised and curated the hugely successful conexions series for for Nasjonal Jazzscene in Oslo, celebrating and creating musical partnerships between the UK and Norway. In 2014 she worked with St George’s Bristol on Norwegian programming including curating a Norwegian day of music and literature, and is currently involved with a Norwegian project in Oxford.
In 2004 she was presented with the coveted Molde Rose award at the Molde Jazz Festival , and in 2009 she was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for her services to Norwegian arts.
Recent projects include Editor of the English version of Luca Vitali’s “The Sound of the North – a history of Norwegian jazz”, and Edition Records has recently released her compilation of Nordic jazz “Northern Edition”.
Fiona’s Masters degree in English Literature and the Visual Arts specialised in the writings of Sir Kenneth Clark. She has taught for Reading University and for the Open University.
She is a Vice-President of the Grieg Society of Great Britain, chair of the trustees of the Whitley Arts Festival and a member of the advisory board for Britten Sinfonia.
We are pleased to announce that the Jazz Utopia conference supper will be hosted by Bar Utopia (where else?) on Church Street, Birmingham city centre on Saturday the 16th of April. Buses will take delegates from outside BCU’s city centre campus to the restaurant at 17.15. At 19.15 we will head across to the nearby Birmingham Conservatoire for Mike Fletcher’s Jazz Orchestra performance (tickets included in conference delegate pack). Dietary requirements have already been considered, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options and all dishes clearly labelled for allergies. Drinks can be bought at the bar and are not included in the Eventbrite price.
Please register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Payments (for food only) should be made before the event, via the Eventbrite link here.
Rhythm Changes, Jazz Utopia is pleased to announce our Keynote Speakers, to be hosted at Birmingham City University for the fourth Rhythm Changes conference:
Ingrid Monson – Jazz Utopias Then and Now
Friday 15th April
Ingrid Monson is Quincy Jones Professor of African American music at Harvard University. She is the author of Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call Out to Jazz and Africa (Oxford University Press, 2007), winner of the Woody Guthrie Award of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music; Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996) winner of the Irving Lowens Book Award of the Society for American Music; and an edited a volume entitled the African Diaspora: A Musical Perspective (Garland/Routledge 2000). She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, served as chair of the Department of Music, and Interim Dean of the Arts and Humanities at Harvard. She served as an expert witness for the Marvin Gaye family in the Blurred Lines copyright infringement case in 2015. She is completing a new book called Kenedougou Visions, about Malian balafonist Neba Solo and is planning another book on copyright and African American music.
Raymond MacDonald – Utopia, Nirvana or Valhalla: Improvisation and all that jazz
Saturday 16th April
Raymond MacDonald is Professor of Music Psychology and Improvisation and Head of The Reid school of Music at Edinburgh University. After completing his PhD in Psychology at the University of Glasgow, investigating therapeutic applications of music, he worked as Artistic Director for a music company, Sounds of Progress, specializing in working with people who have special needs. He has published over 70 papers, was editor of the Journal Psychology of Music between 2006-2012 and has coedited five texts: Musical Identities (2002), Musical Communication (2005), Music Health and Wellbeing (2012), Musical Imaginations (2012) and the Handbook of Music Identities (in press). As a saxophonist and composer his work is informed by a view of improvisation as a social, collaborative and uniquely creative process that provides opportunities to develop new ways of working musically. Collaborating with musicians such as Evan Parker, David Byrne, Jim O’Rourke and Marilyn Crispell, he has released over 50 CDs and toured and broadcast worldwide. He has produced music for film, television, theatre and art installations and is a founder member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. He has a particular interest in cross-disciplinary collaboration and has extensive experience of working with artists and filmmakers.