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Improvising in Place: An Interdisciplinary Jazz Studies Colloquium

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015, University of Kansas

Free! Open to the Public!

Location I: 8 am-12:45 pm: The Commons at the University of Kansas, Spooner Hall, 1340 Jayhawk Blvd.

Location II: 2:00-5:30 pm: at the Hall Center for the Humanities (reception to follow 5:30-7:00 pm), 900 Sunnyside Avenue​

This all-day jazz studies colloquium is an exploration of “place,” broadly defined, as a set of grounded parameters that are pushed, reshaped, and produced by creative improvisers. Morning panels at The Commons cover such ground as the effects of particular urban and rural social geographies of race, nation, ethnicity, gender, and other factors on sounds, venues, and styles (and vice versa). Afternoon events at the Hall Center include a panel featuring KU professor and filmmaker Kevin Willmott on the days (not so long ago) when students could get kicked out of the practice rooms at KU for playing jazz. Big XII Faculty Fellow, Dr. Charles Carson (Musicology and Ethnomusicology, UT Austin) will deliver the keynote talk, “Philadelphia Stories: Race, Place, and the Jazz Geography of the City of Brotherly Love.” Carson is a musicologist whose interests are African-American/American expressive cultures, popular music, jazz, film music, and music and culture. KU Jazz Combo 1 will perform a selection of Philadelphia jazz, proving irrefutably that jazz is alive and well in the practice rooms at KU today. 

In conjunction with the KU Jazz Festival (March 6-7, 2015)
Sponsors Include: the KU Interdisciplinary Jazz Studies Group, The Hall Center for the Humanities, The Commons at the University of Kansas, the KU School of Music, the KU Jazz Festival, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the KU Department of American Studies, the KU Department of Dance, the Hall Center Place, Race, and Space Seminar, the Big XII Faculty Fellowship and the Keeler Family Intra-University Professorship.


8:00 am-12:45 PM Morning Sessions at The Commons at the University of Kansas
8:00 am Welcome
8:15-9:45 am SESSION I     Off (and On) the Beaten Path: Crossings, Fusions, and Convergences in the Jazz We Thought We Knew
  Moderator: Tony Bolden, African and African American Studies, University of Kansas
  “Jazz Me Blues: Chicago’s South Side Jazz Bands, the City Style, and the Thin Blue(s) Line,” Roberta Freund Schwartz, Music, University of Kansas
  "Jazz on the Reservation: Lionel Hampton and the Nez Perce of North Idaho," Ashley Hirt, Music, University of Kansas
  “Race is the Place: Avant-Garde Jazz in Kansas City,” Pete Williams, American Studies, University of Kansas
10:00-11:30 am SESSION II   Power Lines and Wireless Connections: Improvising Race, Place and Difference
  Moderator: Philip Barnard, Dept. of English, University of Kansas
  "A White Place for Jazz: Leonard Bernstein as Jazz Composer and Commentator, 1947-55," Paul Laird, Dept. of Music, University of Kansas
  “The J-Word: The Placelessness of Black Sovereignty in the Land of Genre,” Daniel Atkinson, Kansas African Studies Center, University of Kansas
  “Sample. Improvise. Remix. Record. Play. Repeat: Echoing Beats Across Lines of Difference in Cyber-Sonic Collaboration,” Nicole Hodges Persley, Dept. of Theatre, University of Kansas
11:45 am-12:45 pm 
Uncommon Ground: Real-Time Improvisations of Space and Place
  Moderator: Sherrie Tucker, Dept. of American Studies, University of Kansas
  "Finding Place in Sun Ra's Space: The View from the Arkestra Pit," Kevin Fullerton, Dept. of Music, University of Kansas
  “No map, No directions,” Michelle Heffner Hayes, Dept. of Dance, University of Kansas; Kip Haaheim, Dept. of Music, University of Kansas; and Jason Slote, Kansas Public Radio (KPR)
12:45-1:45 BREAK    (Lunch provided for presenters in the Commons, provided by the Commons, the KU Jazz Festival, and the Dept. of American Studies)
2:00-5:30 pm Afternoon Sessions at the Hall Center for the Humanities
2:00 Welcome
2:15-3:15 pm
“No Place for Jazz”
Kevin Willmott, Dept of Film, University of Kansas, will share film clips from Jayhawkers and discuss the days not so long ago when jazz was not allowed at KU.

3:30-4:30 pm

Keynote Speaker: Charles Carson, Music, UT Austin

“Philadelphia Stories: Race, Place, and the Jazz Geography of the City of  Brotherly Love”

co-sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities and the Hall Center Place, Race, & Space Seminar​

4:30-5:30 Performance by KU Combo 1
5:30-7:00 Reception Sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities

  • Congratulations to Sam Steuart for being named KU's 20th Truman scholar!
  • This article, written by Geoffrey Newman, was published in the August edition of the Kansas History Journal. Congratulations Geoffrey!
  • Rachel Schwaller and Saoussen Cheddadi successfully defended their respective dissertations on October 29, 2018. Congratulations, Drs. Schwaller and Cheddadi!
  • Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Kathryn Vaggalis for being awarded the American Studies Association's 2018 Gene Wise-Warren Susman Prize!
  • Dr. Gamze Kati Gumus defended her dissertation with honors on May 10, 2018. Congratulations, Dr. Kati Gumus!
  • KU-AUMI InterArts was recently featured by the Commons in a video on improving inclusive communities at KU. You can watch the video, which features our own Sherrie Tucker amongst other founders of the movement at KU, and learn more about AUMI here!
  • Congratulations to Professor Robert Warrior on being elected to a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • This articlewritten by Ph.D. candidate Hannah Bailey, was published in the latest edition of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Congratulations, Hannah!
  • We would like to recognize Patrick Sumner, 2005 alumni, for his work in this article about the defacement of the John Brown memorial in the Quindaro area of Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Burrow-Branine for successfully defending his dissertation with honors January 25, 2018.
  • Please read this article about Professor Robert Warrior titled: Native scholar uncomfortably at home in American studies field.
  • Congratulations to Daniel Carey-Whalen, an alumni that was recently promoted as UTEP's Centennial Museum director.
  • Congratulations to Josh Parshall, an alumni who was recently featured in this article.
  • How a motion-tracking musical software is breaking down barriers for people with disabilities: click here to read more about the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a one-of-a-kind piece of inclusive technology that promotes musical improvisation. The article recognizes Professor Sherrie Tucker, who started AUMI jam sessions and helped to bring the grant and symposium for it to Lawrence. Written by Omar Sanchez
  • KU Special Education Department: With Ray Pence
  • Tribute Or Tribulation? How do we commemorate history? What is the best way to remember a conflicted and painful past? And who gets to decide? Listen here »
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