This unique project is based at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal, and explores the practice of paperless musical improvisation. Unlike other forms of improvised music, players in the Improv Workshop Project do not rely on written music or pre-determined harmonic structures or song forms, but rather, they quite literally compose on the spot. Featuring an ever-changing group of musicians of all musical backgrounds, the project puts a focus on the exploration of the tradition of jazz as “improvised chamber music” based on collective improvisation. Weekly playing sessions assemble different casts of musicians to try new ideas and techniques brought by project lead Jean-Michel Pilc and other participants.
Pianist Prof. Jean-Michel Pilc is the de-facto organizer of the ensemble, but in practice, it is rigorously egalitarian, with a deliberate lack of hierarchy amongst members; some of whom are in the midst of music study, and others are acclaimed veterans like Pilc, trumpeter Kevin Dean, and saxophonists Remi Bolduc and Christine Jensen. Luckily for the Montreal jazz scene, this project expands an already rich culture of improvised music, adding an essential incubator for creativity.