A tenth iteration of the Improvised Music Project Festival holds true to the original spirit of collaboration between promising young musicians and elders from the professional music realms. Two nights of performance in late May feature pianist Myra Melford (May 30) and saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo (May 31), with guitarist Bill Frisell appearing both nights along with UW Jazz Studies faculty and students.
Originally conceived as an outlet for talented musicians from the UW Jazz Studies program incubating their own creative music scene, IMPFest had its sprawling, glorious beginnings as a multi-week happening largely organized, hosted, and arranged by students and mostly staged in off-campus venues. The festival has changed and morphed through the years to its current format: a two-day festival showcasing talented student musicians from the Jazz Studies program collaborating with renowned guest artists, but the festival also has come to serve a separate and important role in advancing faculty research interests and subsequent recordings of featured guest artists.
Along with providing opportunities for students to learn from musical mentors and creating inimitable live music experiences for audiences, the festivals have yielded notable results in the form of recordings and projects and tunes that were developed or debuted at IMPFest. In that, IMPFest has proven an important sounding board, launch pad, and experimental laboratory for new music and works in progress. Cuong Vu’s “Leaps of Faith,” Bill Frisell’s “Big Sur,”and the Cuong Vu/Richard Karpen-led collaboration “Indigo Mist,” to name a few, all contained themes and tunes performed at various IMPFest appearances.
As IMPFest celebrates its tenth year, energetic collaborations between students and mentors continue unabated. Today’s festival is a stripped-down affair in contrast to the first student-led outings of a decade ago, which stretched out over multiple weeks and venues with bills largely populated by students and their local compatriots. Surprises are certain, but whatever this year’s festival has in store, expect innovation, creativity and mutually enriching experiences for all involved.
Final sets and lineups are being determined. A full schedule with detailed lineups will be published here once details are finalized.