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Culture Night ÌMC 1

Looking back on 2023

Happy holidays from all of us at Improvised Music Company! As we gallop into 2024, let's pause to reflect on the previous year's activities..

In January we opened our very own development space for jazz & improvising musicians in Ireland: The Cooler at The Complex. Since then, 345 musicians have created music at The Cooler, 18 new works were recorded there (including 1 ensemble’s debut EP), 30 new works were prepped for recording and touring and in total The Cooler offered 3,300 hours of development time for artists. We also ran a few gigs there :)

Stay tuned for 2024’s exciting program at The Cooler!

In February, we were happy to announce French trio NOUT as the winner of the second Zenith Award for emerging artists - an initiative launched by the Europe Jazz Network (EJN) in collaboration with IMC’s 12 Points Festival and supported by Creative Europe. More on that here, and if you’ve never checked them out, give ‘em a spin here.

..the missing chain between Nirvana and Sun Ra, the alliance between Delphine Joussein, Rafaëlle Rinaudo and Blanche Lafuente aims at pushing their instruments beyond their limits, with the enthusiasm of a mad scientist in front of his vials. Flute, harp, drums: a rare combination that this trio turns upside down…Mathieu Durant

In March we had the pleasure of presenting Christine Tobin at the National Concert Hall. She has since released her latest album ‘Returning Weather’ which can be streamed or purchased here.

"The results are starkly beautiful, veering from abstraction to romanticism to folky minimalism, and Tobin’s voice, filled with humanity and warmth, draws it all together perfectly."
The Irish Times

Also in March we kicked off the inaugural Incubator project, a match-funding initiative that offered supporters exclusive access to new content, music and real-life experiences, following Jennifer McMahon and Patrick Stefan over the course of a year. It was really great to get an insight into their creative process and how they approach their work. We’re excited to run the Incubator initiative again in 2024 – watch this space!

In April we screened the BAN BAM concert films at New Music Dublin. These featured original compositions by Úna Monaghan, Sue Rynhart & Cora Venus Lunny, which had been developed as site-specific, filmed experiences throughout 2021 & 2022. The next premiere of Ban Bam work takes place this January 20th and 21st.

Also in April, our very own Bianca Gannon performed at The Hugh Lane Gallery’s long-running Sunday’s at Noon concert-series. To keep up with Bianca, follow her on instagram or check out her website. We’re excited to see her BAN BAM premiere this January 20/21!

Rounding out a fruitful month, Neil Ó Lochlainn stepped up to the plate & undertook the first NAVIGATOR residency of the year at Ballina Arts Centre, Co Mayo. Neil’s previous projects include 'Ensemble Ériu' and 'Cuar'. More recently he performed his latest work – with 14-piece ensemble no-less – ‘Emain Ablach’ at the Smock Alley Theatre. Read a review of that show here, and check out his beautiful and utterly unique work here.

In May we hit Arthurs with a couple of shows; first up was the Scott Flanigan Trio & Ant Law, followed by Dan Walsh’s inimitable Fixity. The former was recorded & uploaded to YouTube by Kevin Brady, who also played drums on the night – nice one Kev!

…and the latter was a spaced-out, mind-altering experience, as can be expected from Dan Walsh and his improvising-comrades. To keep abreast of Dan’s activities, he can be found on instagram here. His 'Cork Improvised Music Club' is well worth checking out if you’re based in the rebel city or spending any time down there. It runs monthly-ish at Plugd Records.

June was a busy month with the inaugural Irish edition of ‘Jazz Camp For Girls’, a 3-day summer camp for female musicians aged 11–15 taking place on DCU’s St Patrick's campus. The aim was to have fun together exploring jazz music and improvisation in a supportive environment, and we’re glad to report, this is exactly what happened! Big thanks to our partners/supporters: the BA in Jazz & Contemporary Music Performance at DCU and Fingal Arts Office. And of course our wonderful tutors / co-ordinators Lina Andonovska, Emily O’Rourke, Jenna Harris & Cormac O’Brien.

‘Jazz Camp For Girls’
will return in 2024 bigger & better with three camps in total; two in Dublin and one in Cork. Roll on!

June also saw our first Jazz Jam at The Cooler on the bank holiday Monday. That was great craic with a wide selection of musicians from different backgrounds rocking in for a jam. We’re currently putting together the next Jazz Jam which will take place on Monday, Feb 5th (the Imbolc bank holiday).

Keep an eye on our Instagram for more on that.

June also saw a couple of Navigator residencies take place with Belfast’s Conor McAuley taking up camp at An Grianán, Letterkenny and Matthew Noone heading down to the Source Arts Centre in Tipperary. Check out Conor’s post-residency reflective article here and Matthew’s here.

Conor’s Córas Trio can be found on instagram here and Matthew’s website his here. Both interesting and unique musicians and well worth spending some more time with, perhaps over the next few quiet weeks of January.

Also in June, Cork’s favourite army-sergeant-come-trombonist Paul Dunlea took a spin up to us for a wonderful gig at Arthurs. He was joined by a team of Ireland’s favourite jazz musicians; Derek ‘Doc’ O’Connor on sax, Cormac McCarthy on piano, Michael Riordan on bass and Davie Ryan on drums.

You can’t really go wrong with a lineup like that – top stuff!

In July, The Cooler was officially opened to the public with 2 days of music programming as part of MusicTown 2023 – a Dublin City Council Initiative curated & produced by Foggy Notions. It was great to work alongside Leagues O’Toole at the team at Foggy HQ.

It was a joy to welcome both musicians and attendees into our space, and we look forward to another year & beyond of exciting projects and live shows at The Cooler.

July also saw Cora Venus Lunny embark on a Navigator residency at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Kildare. Cora’s most recent album is a collaboration with Izumi Kimura and can be found here.

The aforementioned Izumi Kimura did a Navigator residency herself, in August, up in Belfast at the Crescent Arts Centre. Check out her post-residency reflective piece here, and her website here.

She was also recently interviewed by Ian Patterson in All About Jazz.

August also saw another Jazz Jam take place at the Cooler. Again we welcomed a wide variety of artists and were treated to some great performances. Especially notable were a few numbers sung by the inimitable Emilie Conway, pictured below.

We also had visiting jazzer Paul Tynan join us in August at The Cooler, visiting Ireland for a short tour, from his home town in Canada. Paul was joined onstage by Limerick’s John Daly, Joe O’Callaghan & Peter Hanagan for a dynamic set of originals and standards. We caught up with him for a chat before the show.

As part of August’s Cooler Clinic, IMC’s Louis Scully ran a photoshoot with free spaces made available for local musicians to drop in and have some portraits / press shots taken. Big thanks to our Complex neighbour George Hooker for the helpful assistance and allowing us the use of his studio & lights!

September saw Aleka Potinga head over to Garter Lane in Waterford for her Navigator residency. Check out her reflective piece here and follow her on insta here.

September also saw Chris Guilfoyle join us at The Cooler with the pan-European Trio ‘Pathways’, an international collaboration project, pulling in two top-class young European jazz musicians – Lukas Traxel and Moritz Baumgartner – on a journey which explored his musical roots and influences.

Read Chris’s interview from March here and follow him on Instagram here.

Culture Night was the big one for us in September with ‘Late Night Jazz at the Complex’. This entailed IMC programming both the main room as well as our own spot, The Cooler upstairs. Ronan Guilfoyle’s Tudo Bem played alongside OKO and Amy Ryan in the depot and the Jazzabelles ran a late night Jam Session upstairs at The Cooler. We had a jam-packed, sold out crowd for this one and a wonderful evening was had by one & all.

Meanwhile down in Cork, also in September, Max Zaska performed a live concert recording at Triskel Arts Centre with nothing short of a troupe of collaborators on stage with him. This was the culmination of the WRITE RECORD PERFORM residency (an initiative by Triskel Arts Centre and IMC) awarded to Max earlier this year. Max is a great man for keeping busy and updating his socials so keep up to date with him on insta here and get involved with whatever it is he’s hustling currently :)

October saw IMC’s Artist Development Officer Bianca Gannon nominated by Moving On Music and chosen by the Jazz Promotion Network to represent Ireland at 2023’s JPN conference alongside a host of other cutting edge artists from the UK & Ireland:

Seonaid Aitken Ensemble

Duski (Wales)

Marco Woolf (England)

Bianca Gannon (Ireland/Northern Ireland)

Collidescope (England)

Nathan Somevi Trio (Scotland)

AKU! (Scotland)

Go team!

October also saw Izumi Kimura & Gerry Hemingway join us for a very special performance at The Cooler. Izumi & Gerry released a collaborative album ‘Kairos’ earlier this year which is available to stream / buy from bandcamp here.

Then as the year drew to a close, in November we had the pleasure of welcoming Belfast’s Adjunct Ensemble into The Cooler for a spellbinding performance of improvised jazz, spoken word & visuals. Adjunct Ensemble is a new project spearheaded by Belfast’s Jamie Thompson and featuring spoken word poet FELISPEAKS, saxophonist Sam Comerford, bassist John Pope & drummer Stephen Davis. They’ve been getting rave reviews and now we know why. Check out their website for more.

Also in November, Belfast drummer (and Adjunct Ensembler) Stephen Davis took the trip south to embark on a Navigator residency at The Courthouse, Co. Wicklow, which got a nice write up in the Independent.

Keep up with his activities on insta here.

Then in late November we had the wonderful Patrick Stefan and Jennifer McMahon in to The Cooler perform material produced during their Incubator project which they both participated in over the course of the year. It was really lovely to see and hear how this initiative played out, and the positive experiences that were had by both patrons and musicians alike.

Stay tuned for more on Incubator 2024!

Then in December, for our last show of the year, we had Matthew Halpin live at The Cooler with an all-star group of German jazzers. He was joined onstage by Peter Weiss (drums), Wolfgang Schmidtke (soprano sax), Jakob Bänsch (trumpet), Philipp Wisser (guitar), Scott Kohlmann (guitar) and Simon Jermyn (bass). It was great to see Matthew back in Ireland, and a real treat to witness his supergroup of German collaborators.

We are currently busy programming a stacked 2024 at The Cooler and look forward to welcoming you back there after the festive break!

Happy new year and thanks from everyone at IMC for the support this year!

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