The inspiration for this book comes in large measure from the Guelph Jazz
Festival Colloquium, an annual international conference that for seven-
teen years running has continued to bring together scholars and creative
practitioners for engaging dialogue and critical exchange. It’s a place
where vital, new, and timely research issues get put on the table, and
where we’ve been privileged to work actively in a rich, collaborative envi-
ronment fueled by motivating interactions between leading practitioners
and scholars in the field. Many of the pieces included in this book were first
presented at the colloquium.
We’d also like to acknowledge the extraordinary support of the Impro-
visation, Community, and Social Practice (icAsp) research project, cen-
tered at the University of Guelph. This large- scale multi- institutional col-
laborative project focuses on the social implications of improvised music
and brings together a dynamic international research team of thirty- five
researchers from twenty different institutions. Special thanks to icAsp’s
project manager Kim Thorne, and to our research team members, espe-
cially our dear friends and colleagues Frédérique Arroyas, Daniel Fisch-
lin, Ric Knowles, Eric Lewis, and Ellen Waterman. Huge thanks also to
the many research assistants who’ve worked with us, either directly on
this book or on related projects, including the colloquium and icAsp’s
peer- reviewed journal, Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques
en improvisation: Maureen Cannon, Stephanie Cheung, Karl Coulthard,
Paul Danyluk, Greg Fenton, Elizabeth Groeneveld, Cory Lavender, Natalie
Onuška, Michelle Peek, Rachel Shoup, Hanna Smith, Melissa Walker, Ben
Walsh, and Claire Whitehead.
Christie Menzo deserves special mention here. As a mainstay of the
project, Christie worked as our research assistant for several semesters,
and she gave the book extraordinary care through the various stages of its
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