Hello. My name is Seth Bennett, and I’m an improvising double bass player, based in Dundee but working all over Europe. It’s been a privilege to have worked on Dundee Jazz Festival’s Community Engagement Programme this year. The job has involved meeting many inspiring people, and learning a lot about the musical life of the city I have called home for the past five years. The consultation work is ongoing, and will continue past this year’s festival, with the aim of laying the groundwork for more bottom-up, collaborative working in the coming years, but the programme of community events is now ready to be shared.
The programme has come together in quite an improvisatory way; finding people and groups who have expressed a need for something from the festival, and trying to find ways to meet those needs. Sadly, due to timing and the very nature of amateur music making and community work, it hasn’t been possible to do everything we would have liked, but I am nonetheless excited with what we have been able to organise.
I got in touch with the Boomerang Centre in Stobswell as part of a different project, but as discussions went on, it became apparent that we could do something with an Adult Art Group that they run on a Tuesday evening too. The festival will be running a graphic score art workshop for a kids group the centre runs, but, on hearing about it, their adult group were also keen to have a go. Accordingly, we will be running a free-but-ticketed, and strictly limited, workshop for adults who are interested in visual art, and would like to try making a graphic score. We will work through imagining how we might make an image that describes a sound, and then, after imagining a sound we’d like to hear from a double bass, attempt to make an image that evokes it from a musician (in this case, me). We’ll then arrange everyone’s pieces into a composition, and I will play it, while anyone who wishes to creates an art work inspired by the music. Tuesday 31st October, Boomerang Centre, 10 Kemback Street, Dundee DD4 6ET, 6.30 - 8.00 Free, to book a place email firstname.lastname@example.org
Doctors Zindzi Greenwood and Rebecca Forrester were excited to meet me in their GP training space/community room at The Crescent in Whitfield. They’re GPs in Whitfield, and took on additional space in the building their practice is in to train student GPs and have space for community events. Crucially for this project, they have a donated upright piano in the space, and Zindzi and Rebecca were eager to see it used. We decided that we should organise a lunchtime concert in the space on Thursday 2nd November at 12.30, and I was eager to book some local Jazz musicians for the event. I secured the services of long standing Dundee jazz stalwart Iain Matheson to play the piano, and a newer face on the Dundee scene, Kim Archibald, who is a marvellous singer and accomplished saxophonist - she also plays in the Milhouse Collective, and sings with The Vintage Girls. I will round out the trio on double bass, and we’re going to play music from the great American songbook. Thursday 2nd November, Newfield GP Teaching Hub, The Crescent, Lothian Crescent, 12.30 - 14.00 Free, unticketed
Scrapantics have been working in Dundee for nearly 9 years, initially as an organisation diverting scrap materials from landfill to be reused by makers, crafts people and artists. This work spread into community art work, running play sessions, and beyond. They recently took on a shop space in the Wellgate centre, which has enabled them to expand their activities still further. I got in touch with them because one of their workers, Neil Crutchley, had put on a party for refugees, which, eye-catchingly, involved a Ukrainian choir. I was initially hoping to get them involved in the project, but as it has turned out, that was not possible (this time). Instead we’ve agreed to provide a workshop on improvisation in music in their space at the Wellgate Centre on Sunday the 5th November at 11.30am. The workshop will be free and open to all - to anyone who has any interest whatsoever in improvisation, in whatever genre. It will be suitable for all levels of ability and none - no prior experience of music making required, nor even an instrument, as singing would work fine. We will work through a series of exercises on time, listening and group collaboration, before putting together everything we have learned as a group to make a world premier - performing a piece of music that we have composed ourselves. Sunday 5th November, Scrapantics Community Space at the Wellgate, Level 2, Wellgate Shopping Centre,Victoria Road, Dundee DD1 2DB, 11.30am, Free, unticketed
See also ticketed kids workshops below ↓
The Community Programme is part-funded by the Dundee City Council Common Good Fund and part-funded by Creative Scotland
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