IMC 2020 Retrospective
It’s been a very long, and strange year, and we’re very grateful for your continued support, so we’ve gathered together some of our Favourite Things below so you can enjoy a selection box of our favourite reading and listening from 2020, to keep your holidays filled with improvised music.
If you still need to find some gifts, be sure to check out our Gift Listings and Album Listings - you can find a wonderful gift for a music-lover and support Irish music and musicians at the same time! Or if you’re thinking of taking up an instrument as a New Year’s Resolution, why not have a look through our Lesson Listings of jazz and improvising musicians who can teach remote lessons safely from home
Way back in the before times of February and March we kicked off the new year with some varied and excellent events, from our FunSize Jazz in Limerick to Kenosha Kid in Lost Lane, and our Signal Series featuring some excellent improv from the likes of BigSpoon, Simon Jermyn and more. It’s interesting to read back over some of our artist Q&As and reflect on what was occupying our thoughts then! Some favourites are from Kenosha Kid’s Dan Nettles and the members of ÄTSCH.
In March, everything stopped, and we had to change all of our plans for the remainder of the year. With the incredible creativity of Ireland’s improvising artists to call on, however, we came together with the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork to host a weekly sequence of online solo performances called Piece By Piece featuring newly-commissioned works from leading Irish improvisers.
The first series of Piece by Piece demonstrated the rich possibilities of the online medium, as some of Ireland’s finest improvising artists created new musical works. Creative use of film and manipulated visuals showed the artists’ inspirations and thought processes, and became as much part of the experience as the music. We’ve now kicked off a second series of Piece by Piece which you can watch on our Youtube channel Fridays through December and January.
We were delighted to be a part of the Wood Quay Summer Sessions again in July, with the series moving online for four lunchtime concerts broadcast from Dublin City Council’s beautiful Wood Quay Venue. Wood Quay Summer Sessions is funded by Dublin City Council and presented in association with First Music Contact, Improvised Music Company, Contemporary Music Centre, & Music Network. The series kicked off with some mesmerizing contemporary jazz from quartet BigSpoon.
For its 7th year in 2020, our Hotter than July Festival presented with Dublin City Council moved to an online space, celebrating inclusivity and diversity with music, story-telling, and creativity accessible to everyone from home! Listen to the live sessions at Hotter than July for an eclectic mix of music. Enjoy high-octane Cuban salsa with Conor Guilfoyle's Havana 'che, an immersive experience of traditional Indonesian sounds with the NCH Gamelan Orchestra, Irish-Iranian fusion with Navá or the genre-blending duo of Niwel Tsumbu & Éamonn Cagney.
For younger (and older) music-lovers, we also had a series of musical story-telling from different cultures, with Irish mythology from Ríona Sally Hartman, Turkish tales from Senem Donatan Mohan and Congolese children's stories from Niwel Tsumbu. Or why not explore how instruments work and try making your own from household items with Ed Devane.
We’ve worked a lot to support Irish and Irish-based artists who have had such a tough year of it, expanding our Resources section, and hosting a series of Jazz Connector meetings and professional development sessions on topics from engaging with arts centres to writing funding applications.
With continuing restrictions on live performance, we’ve moved into more professionally- recorded full online concerts, with our Icons of Jazz series. Icons of Jazz presents some of Ireland’s most renowned jazz musicians performing their take on the iconic musicians who have shaped jazz music in the last century, with Ronan Guilfoyle’s 3G with Chris Engel exploring Charlie Parker’s music for his centenary, Tommy Halferty’s Quartet taking on John Scofield, and Richie Buckley’s Quintet cascading through John Coltrane.
Coming up we have a special offer of on-demand access to all three concerts for 2 weeks from Christmas eve, the perfect gift for yourself or someone else.
Since 2019, we have been a partnership in cross-European project Jazz Connective, which should have closed with a final event in Lyon this year. While we weren’t able to meet in Lyon in person, Irish musicians rose to the challenge and presented a fantastic programme of three online musical explorations for Lyon’s digital Jazz Connective, with events from OKO, Roamer and a duo of H-ci (Shane O’Donovan) & DJackulate (Jack McMahon).