Listening - watching
taking a moment
drawing the world
finding the way to connection
again and again.

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Thursday, August 17, 2023

Playing in the Creative Music World

This past July I joined the Creative Music Workshop faculty in Halifax, Nova Scotia for part of their weeklong exploration diving into jazz improvisation. 

CMW is the legacy of Jerry Granelli who founded it over twenty-five years ago as the educational ground of the Halifax Jazz Festival. 

Jerry and I had collaborated and performed together for many years but I'd never dropped into this part of his world. After Jerry died in 2021 his son J. Anthony Granelli stepped in to guide CMW, along with a host of delightful faculty that Jerry had mentored over the years. 

On my first day I guided the fifty students in the Big Brush practice, all of us making our mark, creating something from nothing, improvising with the moment. Held by the ancient principles of Heaven, Earth and Human we brought forth what was inside with a big gesture that landed on the page. Then we folded it up and let it go. 

The next day we moved into duets, beginning with hands moving, touching the paper, then picking up the pastels and letting the relationship mark, express and interweave. 

Walking around and seeing what had landed . . .

The third day we created duets on the wall, standing at the ends of a length of paper and moving towards the center, following that moving, sensing line. 

 Finding a way to cross over and through . . . heading to the other end . . .

Then another duet was layered on top, and another and another, a vast tapestries emerging. 

After all this energy we dropped into a free write with the prompt "When I make a line . . ." 

We read them to each other and then asked for eight lines from the group and I wrote them out on the spot.

It was an invitation for connection

So long sustained

The magnet in my body

I waited for that first kiss

From me to you & you to me

Experience the presence of it in fullness

Lines make other lines into shape

This will be huge - it is not my normal way.  


I joined the CMW Faculty Concert at the Halifax Public Library in the evening, spreading out a great length of paper on the floor and moving back and forth with brush and paint and pastels and charcoal in response to the music and the movement happening all around me. It was one of those alive exchanges in life. 

Here is what was left behind at the end.

And the link to the whole concert -

Afterwards I rolled up the paper and let it go . . .

 Here is that fun CMW faculty - 

Doug Cameron, Michael Blake, J.Anthony Granelli, Andrew Mackelvie, Ross Burns, Nick MacLean, Nick Dourado, Susanne Chui, Nicole Rampersaud, Erin Donovan and Kelvin Mansaray. 

And me becoming something different !