Volunteer's Collective

I've spoken highly of the Red Room (which is now Klein Blue) in the past, and I'll continue to sing its praises. I've just heard from D.I.Y. Mummy that there is a new collective forming which I will certainly be participating in. I suspect that John Berndt must be behind this. Here's the info:


After much preparation, The Red Room and High Zero Foundation are excitedly relaunching their monthly workshop for freely improvised experimental music (previously "The Crap Shoot") at a new time, with a new name, and a new attitude.

Now called VOLUNTEERS' COLLECTIVE, it will be running the first Sunday of each month, at 6PM at The Red Room (Normals Books and Records). Although the Crap Shoot workshop (which had approximately 140 sessions since it began in 1996) had been an integral part of the growth of the experimental improvised music scene in Baltimore, for some time we have been feeling it needed revitalization on a deep level.

Essentially, we want this event to be a more powerful tool for the community of improvisers in Baltimore to hone their art, network and form collaborations, and stretch themselves musically in unfamiliar and inspiring situations.

This means a new approach, and frankly, a more critical attitude.

First, the new VOLUNTEERS' COLLECTIVE workshop will be structured featuring well-known local improvisers who will attend sessions to provide a backbone of seasoned players to "seed" each workshop. This will create a more attractive and stimulating workshop situation for newcomers and seasoned players alike.

Second, the workshop will also involve more critical cross-discussion about the music actually played. Conversation, debate, and reflection are vital components on the way to honing skills in improvisation and the VOLUNTEERS' COLLECTIVE will provide that forum.

Third, the workshop will be open to anyone of any level of skill with a strong interest in getting into improvisation and experimentation in an open-ended but thoughtful and disciplined way. This is about reaching beyond and using improvisation collaboratively to guide us into new areas of music and thinking. We are particularly interested in players who want to develop new, unique, but flexible approaches to playing.

There is a catch.

In this new approach, we are asking that only those players who have a strong intention to develop their music and their free improvisation skills attend the workshop. We would like to focus on active musicians who are interested in pushing their playing to a higher level in a specifically experimental, non-idiomatic direction.

Although the workshop will be open to all, we will request that ongoing participation be paralleled by a serious interest in one's own artistic development.

We hope that folks will respect this, and that, as a result of these changes, the overall experience will be substantially more stimulating and thought-provoking than ever.

And, of course, if these changes don't suit some players, we encourage them to create their own collective contexts for improvised music that are more aligned with their interests.

The first VOLUNTEERS' COLLECTIVE will be Sunday, August 1st 6-8PM and will include "seed" improvisers John Berndt, John Dierker, Liz Meredith, and Will Redman. We hope to see you there!