But in amongst this there have been opportunities via televisual communications ie Zoom etc. This has in some cases enabled players to continue to play together and perform. It has in fact created opportunities for more regular playing and meeting up for this genre of ensemble improvisation than was possible in venues before March 2020, all be it with its technological limitations.
The medium of televisual communication presents challenges, not least what sound is made on one side of the computer/ phone /tablet is not always heard or experienced in the way it was intended on the other side, which in a positive light is grist to mill for the improvising player / performer.
And what of the coming months?
Improvisers should certainly build on the new medium of televisual communication and own it as a medium for improvisation. To use it build and maintain contacts with other improvisors who otherwise would be isolated and unable to develop their art form. Its global too, so now linking up an improvising ensemble from UK, France, USA, India, Africa is possible. Certainly, this is my experience.
What about playing in venues?
Playing in the same room in an ensemble of fellow players and performers is still the ideal but looks a while off yet. But there are still possibilities such as outdoor spaces or spaces that are large enough for safe gathering of small groups of people. There are many recordings in the past of players who will have found a space that creates a site-specific sound or has a particular acoustic quality. This creates a unique quality to the playing and improvisation, responding to the sounds of the other players and the experience of the space, alive with its own sound ques and reflections. Of all the musical genres improvisation should own this quality
So let’s keep meeting via televisual communication, bringing the improvising ensemble musicians and performers community together.
And let's be proactive and find those beautiful acoustic spaces that you know about or have heard about and where it is legal and safe - play!