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IMC 2021 retrospective

It’s been yet another exceptional year for us all at Improvised Music Company and we’re very grateful for your continued support. We hope you’ll have a musical Christmas and a very happy new year, and we’ve gathered together some gift ideas and a selection box of our favourite things from the past year for you to enjoy over the holidays.

If you are still looking for last-minute musical stocking stuffers, why not grab some tickets for upcoming events? Anyone would be happy to see the spectacular Craig Taborn at the National Concert Hall this January, or have a chance to close out 2021 with a bang at the finale of our Afrobeat series in the Sugar Club, with the explosive Manden Express and Elikya. And of course, there's no show like a Joe show.

For other gifts, why not have a look at our Album Listings. We loved the Irish Times top 5 jazz albums of 2021, and if you’d like to check out the artist’s perspective on this amazing music, we were glad to have 3 of the artists featured in our Other Side of the Tracks Q&As. You can learn about the processes that brought the albums to life from Matthew Halpin, Kevin Brady, & the trio of Cora Venus Lunny, Izumi Kimura, & Anthony Kelly. To support a very worthy cause, consider an album from The Fund for Phil shop, where all proceeds go to supporting inspirational jazz pianist Phil Ware in his recovery from serious illness.

With a lot of stops and starts in activity, this year has seen some amazing work from artists - our Blind Date Jazz series in spring brought a unique challenge to artists, creating new musical journeys without knowing who their partner was.

Our Piece by Piece series of interconnected audio-visual improvisations finished at the beginning of the year with 4 extraordinary and very different pieces.

The Navigator Music Residencies in partnership with The Source Arts, An Grianán Theatre, Tinahely Courthouse, and Ballina Arts Centre saw artists in 4 corners of the country developing locally-engaged work.

Later in 2021 we eventually returned to live jazz with some very different events - a return to Down With Jazz at Meeting House Square, (which looked beautiful!) and an intimate club show with Christine Tobin. We also had the pleasure of hearing Christine's thoughts on the healing power of music, inspirations from returning home to Ireland, and re-connecting with audiences, for our Other Side of the Tracks series, which you can read here.

We’ve also had a little bit of time and space to examine and reflect on the process of creating music, and you can listen back to some wonderful chats we’ve had with musicians on our Creative About Music Podcast. Season 1 - BAN BAM - with Aoife Concannon, explored the lives and work of women in Irish jazz, while Season 2 took our Blind Date Jazz series into an audio framework, with artists reflecting on improvisation and creating a new, purely musical journey together.

As a special treat for the end of the year, we’ll have 3 new episodes available for you to enjoy on the Christmas walks - Available from Christmas Eve, Christine Tobin & Phil Robson reflect on their careers and return to Ireland, on 31st Niwel Tsumbu on what it means to be an African musician in Ireland, and on 7th January, Yankari Afrobeat Collective’s Segun & Uché on the history and meaning of Afrobeat. Subscribe on your favourite platform to keep up to date.

We’re very glad to have you as part of our IMC circle, and we’re getting very excited for 2022 with some exciting things coming up as we celebrate 30 years of our work in Ireland. We’ll keep you in the loop about concerts, festivals, and more creative endeavours, and there will be some unique ways to be part of the band for those who are interested.

If you enjoyed this newsletter and our selection box of musical treats, why not subscribe to our newsletter for more, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or share it with a jazz-inclined friend? We're always happy to have more people in the IMC circle!

At the moment, Improvised Music Company is also seeking to appoint new members to its Board of Directors, to assist us in the vibrant development of creative improvised music in Ireland. If this sounds up your street, learn more here.

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