Listeners who attend a performance of improvising musician Scott Thomson's “Chamber Elements” in the National Gallery of Canada at 1 p.m. this Saturday or Sunday will become an active part of the experience.
In contrast to most jazz or chamber concerts, it's unlikely that any listener will hear the same 35-minute performance as another listener. They will be free to, and even expected to, move to different locations within the different galleries to hear the musicians - or even walk away from a combination they find boring.
The musicians themselves – trumpet players, trombonists and the Element Choir - will individually progress along their own paths among the art to rendezvous and play. Each will follow a precise schedule and map. Listeners will also get a copy of this cartographic score and be able to make personal decisions on how to experience the music from moment to moment. A listener can follow musicians whose sound they like, or move to where roving musicians' sounds combine in the gallery space, or attend only rendezvous. And with the improvisational freedom afforded to the players, not even the Saturday and Sunday performances will be identical for those who hear both.
Although part of Ottawa Chamberfest, many of the musicians participating in the two Chamber Elements concerts are accomplished jazz and/or improvising musicians from Ottawa-Gatineau and elsewhere. These roving trumpet players and trombonists include Nicholas Dyson, Craig Pedersen, Mark Ferguson, Ryan Purchase, and Jim Lewis. The Element Choir, under the direction of Christine Duncan, is rehearsing starting on August 2 and includes professional Ottawa jazz vocalist Renée Yoxon and others active in the local jazz scene.
Visit OttawaJazzScene.ca on Friday for a longer version of this story, including our interview with Scott Thomson about the development of piece and his numerous cartographic performances, and Christine Duncan about her unique Element Choir.
– Brett Delmage