Francesco Martinelli

Francesco Martinelli was born in Pisa, Italy, in 1954, and graduated in chemistry at Pisa University. Since 1975 he has been involved in the promotion of musical events (the concerts of American bluesmen Cooper Terry and Don Cherry and the Frank Lowe Quartet). In 1976, he co-founded CRIM (Center for Research About Improvised Music). CRIM promoted the Pisa Jazz Festival and many other ad hoc events from 1976 to 1982, mainly concentrating on contemporary improvisation and jazz. Within CRIM, Martinelli published the Italian editions of books by Leo Smith (Notes: 8 Pieces) and Derek Bailey (Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music), and several records (Improvisors’ Symposium by Evan Parker, The Paul Rutherford Duo With Toni Rusconi, Pisa by the Maarten Altena Quartet, and Detto Fra Di Noi by the Alex von Schlippenbach Trio). After 1982, he promoted events for the town of Pisa, including La Nuova Onda, a festival of contemporary Italian jazz, as well as other festivals all over the country. In 1998 he began co-directing the Controindicazioni Festival in Rome and acting as a consultant for festivals and concerts all over the country. After planning and promoting a major three-day festival dedicated to the Italian Instabile Orchestra in December 1997, he produced a double CD for Leo Records documenting the event; the CDs were critically acclaimed worldwide, and the collaboration with the Italian Instabile Orchestra became an ongoing project, with promotion of a yearly Instabile Festival in Pisa. He was then appointed curator of the Siena Jazz Archive, the main resource of its kind in Italy, and also gave courses and lectures about the history of jazz, the philology and conservation of recorded sound, and music research through the Internet. He taught at the Summer School of Music of New York University in Italy for four years, giving a course on European improvised music and lecturing at New York University in New York. His writing has appeared in many magazines: the Italian Musiche (about Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Sun Ra), Musica Jazz (about Billie Holiday, Lucky Thompson, and Anthony Braxton), Il Sismografo (the SISMA newsletter), Nerosubianco (the SISMA musicological review), the French Improjazz, the Canadian Coda, the Austrian Jazz Live, the English Avant and VJM, and the American Signal to Noise. His writing has also appeared in books like Mixtery: A Festschrift for Anthony Braxton, the Black Music and Blues Encyclopedia (Arcana), and the Italian Jazz Encyclopedia. His liner notes appear on CDs that are on labels such as FMP, Maya, Chronoscope, Braxton House, Splasch, Leo, Nuscope, and Soul Note. He did work on two major Anthony BraxtonCDs: News From the Seventies (New Tone) and Small Ensemble (Wesleyan) 1994 (Splasch). His most recent CD production is Tales of Love and Death by the Eugenio Colombo Septet on Leo Records, a unique dramatic cantata of three sopranos and a jazz quartet. He has published the discographies of Evan Parker and Mario Schiano, and contributed to entries in Tom Lord’s Jazz Discography. In March 2000, his Anthony Braxton Discography was published, which is the most complete resource book about one of the major figures of contemporary music. It includes an extended bibliography; appendices about web sources and movies; and detailed indexes of all musicians, record titles, original, and standard compositions in over 200 pages with 85 illustrations.

Neil Cooper

Neil Cooper is an arts writer and critic based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He currently writes for The Herald, Product, The Quietus, Scottish Art News, Bella Caledonia and The List. He has contributed chapters to The Suspect Culture Book (Oberon), Dear Green Sounds: Glasgow’s Music Through Time and Buildings (Waverley) and Scotland 2021 (Eklesia). He also co-edited a special Arts and Human Rights edition of the Journal of Arts & Communities (Intellect).

Neil wrote for The Wire, but he stopped a decade ago after the editor chose to side with a disgruntled curator following a complaint regarding what was a largely positive review. The complaint was fine, but the curator then passed a private email exchange between her and the editor to her friends and music promoters she’d never met. Scotland is small in this way, however, and the exchange inevitably landed in Neil’s in-box. Copies are available on request.

Neil has also written for Plan B, Map, Line, The Times, The Independent, Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman, Sunday Herald, Scotland on Sunday and other publications. He has written essays for Suspect Culture theatre company, Alt. Gallery, Newcastle, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and Berwick upon Tweed Film and Media Arts Festival. Neil has appeared on BBC and independent radio and TV, and has lectured in arts journalism at Napier University, Edinburgh. He is a member of the NUJ and the Critics Circle, and has been a judge for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

Matthias Heyman

Matthias HeymanMatthias Heyman (Belgium) is currently finalising his PhD research at the University of Antwerp in affiliation with the Royal Antwerp Conservatoire, where he obtained his MA in Jazz Performance (Double Bass). In his research he seeks to contextualise the bass playing of Ellingtonian Jimmie Blanton (1918-1942). In 2011, Matthias led a research project on Belgian jazz heritage, and he continues to specialise in his country’s jazz history. He is also active as a freelance double bassist, and is a lecturer of all jazz history and research courses at the Jazz Studio (Antwerp) and the LUCA School of Arts (Leuven). Matthias has published in journals such as Journal of Jazz Studies and Current Research in Jazz, besides presenting at several international conferences.

Conference Organisers & Researchers in Residence

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Prof Chris Atton is Professor of Media and Culture in the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Edinburgh Napier University. His work focuses on Alternative Media where his contribution has concentrated on the notion of alternative media not as an essentialised political position but as a set of socio-cultural processes that redraw the boundaries of expert culture and media power. His research interests include popular music, the creative economy, and teaching and learning in higher education. Atton has also written on censorship and media ethics.

Dr Haftor Medbøe is Associate Professor of Music, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Popular Music and Jazz Musician in Residence at Edinburgh Napier University. His research interests include cultural identity and transnational heritage in contemporary European jazz, popular music pedagogy, interdisciplinarity and practice-as-research. Alongside his academic career, he remains active as a guitarist/composer and over the past decade has released eight albums to international critical acclaim.


Dr Zack Moir lectures across a broad range of music subjects at Edinburgh Napier University.  He is also a lecturer in music at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and is a Teaching Fellow in the Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh. He has a strong research interest in popular music education, music pedagogy, music in higher education, musical improvisation, and composition. Zack is also an active musician and composer performing as a saxophonist in ensembles and as a soloist.



Tony Whyton


Tony Whyton is Professor of Jazz Studies at Birmingham City University (BCU). His critically acclaimed books ‘Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition’ (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and ‘Beyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album’ (Oxford University Press, 2013) have sought to develop cross-disciplinary methods of musical enquiry. As an editor, Whyton published the Jazz volume of the ‘Ashgate Library of Essays on Popular Music’ in 2011 and continues to work as co-editor of the Jazz Research Journal (Equinox). In 2014, he founded the new Routledge series ‘Transnational Studies in Jazz’ alongside BCU colleague Dr Nicholas Gebhardt. Gebhardt and Whyton also edited ‘The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music’ (Routledge) in 2015, a collection that explores the ways in which musician-led collectives offer a powerful model for rethinking jazz practices in the post-war period.

From 2010-2013, Whyton was Project Leader for the ground-breaking HERA-funded Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities project (, where he led a consortium of 13 researchers working across 7 Universities in 5 countries.  He is currently the Project Leader for CHIME, a 3-year JPI-Heritage Plus funded project that explores the relationship between jazz festivals and heritage sites (

Espen Eriksen

Espen Eriksen
Espen Eriksen is perhaps best known for leading his own group, Espen Eriksen Trio, which has released three records on the acclaimed Norwegian label Rune Grammofon. The trio, referred to by BBC, as “superb musicians at the top of their game” have been credited by critics worldwide for having their own unique melodic and minimalistic style”. Eriksen has toured in Norway, Denmark, Iceland, England, Scotland, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Russia, Greece, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Africa.
Eriksen also has a duo with trumpeter Gunnar Halle. Together they have released two records with folk songs and psalms from Norway and played about 100 concerts throughout Europe. Together with Halle, Eriksen is also plays in a trio with the Scottish-based Norwegian guitarist Haftor Medbøe. Eriksen has also played with musicians including Eivind Aarset, Andy Sheppard, Thomas Strønen, Audun Erlien and Håkon Kornstad.

As a journalist Eriksen has worked at Norwegian Broadcasting Company (NRK) since 2004. Here he has hosted different jazz programs, reviewed records and produced live recordings. His work at NRK often focuses on jazz that pushes the edges of its definition both towards the popular and the avant-garde. Eriksen has also taught jazz history and jazz analysis on bachelor and masters level at both The University of Oslo and Norwegian Academy of Music.

Luca Vitali

Luca Vitali

Luca Vitali is one of the founding members of Europe Jazz Media – a community of jazz journalists, media professionals and broadcasters. He has organised various contemporary music and performing arts events, and since 2010 has worked as one of the artistic curators of Bologna’s Angelica Festival. He has collaborated with various Norwegian institutions in Italy (Royal Norwegian Embassy, Royal Norwegian Consulate in Bologna), as well as with Jazzforum, Music Norway, Listen to Norway and Jazznytt.

Dave Kane

Dave Kane
Dave Kane was born in Bangor, N.Ireland where his first formal education in music was with acclaimed composer Brian Irvine. He then moved to England to complete a BA in Contemporary Music and a Masters degree in Composition from Leeds College of music. Kane is a self taught virtuoso of the double bass and has performed and recorded internationally at many established jazz festivals, including; Grenoble, Strasbourg, Vilnius, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Banlieues Bleues (Paris), Oslo, Vossa Jazz festival, Mai Jazz, Stavanger Tou scene, Stockholm, Llubjanna, Maribor, and London Jazz festival.

Currently based in Leeds, Kane is a founder of L.I.M.A. (Leeds Improvised Music Association) and is the manic driving force, musical director and composer for the L.I.M.A orchestra, a large jazz ensemble featuring some the UK’s finest young musicians.

He is also a member of the internationally acclaimed trio BDK, with pianist Matthew Bourne and drummer Steve Davis. They have received rave reviews and enthralled many large audiences at some of the most established jazz festivals across Europe. The trio’s debut album “Lost Something” was voted one of the best Albums of 2008 by BBC Radio 3.

As a bandleader and composer, Kane writes a vast amount of music for many ensembles of varying size and style. He has had his music performed on BBC Radio 3, and featured as guest artist on the channels specialist show ‘Jazz on 3’, completing both commissions and live studio sessions for the program.

As a composer Kane has been commissioned by; Radio 3, London Jazz Festival, LIMA festival, The Stavanger Kitchen Orchestra (Norway), Yorkshire Dance, Manchester Jazz festival, Moving on Music, Phoenix Dance, and many more. Kane has also been a recent participant in the prestigious ‘Take Five’ scheme: an artist development scheme for the most promising young jazz musicians in the UK, organised by Serious International Music Producers, the PRSF, and the Jerwood Foundation. More recent awards include – The PRS New Music Biennial Award 2014. (in collaboration with classical composer Piers Hellawell) and Kane has recently been nominated for the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Award for composition.

José Dias

Jose Dias

José Dias’ PhD research on European jazz networks, alongside his association with the intra-European 12 Points jazz festival and the Portuguese jazz netlabel Sintoma Records, has led to his appointment as delegate for 12 Points, around the subject of which he is currently organising a monograph on European jazz, as co-editor, in collaboration with Tony Whyton (Birmingham City University /CHIME /Rhythm Changes), Gerry Godley (Leeds College of Music /12 Points) and Kenneth Killeen (Improvised Music Company /12 Points).

In Portugal, José Dias has been a leader in the establishment of platforms promoting knowledge exchange between academia and the music sectors – musicians, promoters, festivals, record labels, journalists, educators and researchers. This engagement has been channelled into initiatives such as Researchers in Residence (Universidade Nova de Lisboa/ Festa do Jazz Lisboa 2016), featuring high-profile international music researchers and promoters; and Future Jazz Talks (Universidade Nova de Lisboa/ Clean Feed Records/ Europe Jazz Network), as part of the 2016 EJN Board Meeting, in June 2016. José Dias is currently finishing the filming and editing of the documentary Those Who Make it Happen, on Portuguese jazz and its mapping in the European jazz scene, for release in July 2016.

As a musician, José Dias has performed with European and American artists at numerous international music festivals and venues, delivered master classes on composition and performance, and released a number of albums as both leader and sideman. As an educator, Jose Dias established and developed the course programme for the prestigious JBJazz School Lisbon, where he held the post of Pedagogical Director (2004-2012).

Elena Mîndru-Turunen

Elena Mindru

Elena Mîndru-Turunen is currently a PhD student within the Sibelius Academy’s Jazz Department in Helsinki, under the guidance of prof. Jukkis Uotila. She has been active as a jazz singer for more than ten years now, as well as a vocal coach for over seven years.

Originally from Romania, her musical background combines more genres and instruments. As a child, she studied classical violin and piano. She graduated her bachelor studies in classical composition and completed her masters in jazz within the Nordic Master of Jazz program. Main instrument: voice.

Elena has been receiving many awards in jazz festivals and competitions around Europe. The most important ones were in July 2012 in Switzerland, where she was awarded the 2nd Prize and the Public Prize by a jury presided by the great Quincy Jones at the Montreux Jazz Voice Competition.

In 2012 she started her own record label (EM Records), through which she has released five titles already – three of her own and two of other bands. www.

Renée Stefanie

Renée Stefanie

Renée Stefanie is a vocalist, specialising in Jazz through much of the broad spectrum that the genre label implies. Born in the Netherlands, raised in New Zealand, based in Scotland and with a debut album recorded in the South of France she is a musical amalgamation of European and American influences who has been initially overwhelmed by, and ultimately benefitted from, exposure to a variety of strong musical ideas, opinions and expressions.

She lectures in popular music at Edinburgh Napier University where she strives to collaborate with students in exploring a breadth of musical concepts and ideas; encouraging them to translate and interpret those ideas as tools to be utilised in the realisation of their own musical styles. Her primary areas of academic interest relate to methodologies and approaches to enhance creative practices, kinesthetic pedagogical approaches in relation to abstract concepts, and the adaptation of vocal performance to suit variations of musical context and creative intention.

Petter Frost Fadnes

Petter Frost Fadnes

With a parallel career in performance and academia, Frost Fadnes’ research interest is centered on improvisational thinking within a practical context, specifically looking at improvisational processes through musical performance. His overall mission is to demystify improvisational music making, and reveal the musical thought within the performance. As a saxophone player, Frost Fadnes is active much of the year with The Geordie Approach (UK/NO) – mixing acoustic and electronically manipulated sounds – in addition to the Stavanger-based collective Kitchen Orchestra, the quartet Mole (UK/FR/NO), and the trios Target (UK/AU/NO) and Trio DRP (UK/NO).

Frost Fadnes is Associate Professor at The Department of Music and Dance, University of Stavanger, and former principal investigator for the HERA-funded research project Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities.

William Bares

William Bares
Pianist / scholar William Bares received his Ph.D in ethnomusicology in 2009 from Harvard University under the mentorship of Ingrid Monson, the Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music. He spent much of the past decade researching European jazz and playing professionally on the European scene. He has published articles on transatlantic jazz in Jazzforschung, Jazz Research Journal, American Music, and the Grove Dictionary of American Music, among others. He taught at Harvard University, Brown University, Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory before taking a job as assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, in 2011. Bares is active in Asheville’s thriving musical community as an educator, musician and promoter. He was the solo pianist in the Blue Ridge Orchestra’s debut of Rhapsody in Blue, and serves as curator of the Sunday Jazz Showcase at Asheville’s famed Isis Music Hall. He was also coordinator of Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues—an international meeting of scholars and musicians that took place in Asheville in October of 2014. His book, Eternal Triangle: American Jazz in European Postmodern, is forthcoming.

Donald James

Donald James
Donald James is an ethnomusicologist, musician, and music writer based in Boston. His Ph.D research investigated the effects of cultural policy on jazz musicians and style on the Paris scene in the mid-2000s. He has written on jazz and popular music for a variety of outlets—most notably, WGBH’s Front Row Boston, where he is the managing editor. James was also host and producer of Exploring Black Music, a podcast of the Center for Black Music Research.

James is a lecturer in ethnomusicology at Boston College and has taught at a number of institutions in the Boston area. He has lectured publicly on French cultural policy and jazz at the Copenhagen Philosophy Forum’s lecture series on Jazz and Philosophy, and various conferences and venues in the US and Europe. Most recently, James has begun work on a research project on cultural labor and the political economy of music in the Shoals region of Alabama.

Twitter: @thedonaldjames

Lawrence Davies

Lawrence Davies

Lawrence Davies is a PhD student at King’s College London researching the performance and appreciation of blues music in Britain before 1960. As well as tracking the genre’s transatlantic dissemination through live performance, recordings, and radio, his research examines how the blues was interpreted through broader, transnational jazz and folk ‘revival’ movements, fueling contemporary debates over national, social, and racial identity.

Lawrence is currently writing the entry on ‘British Blues’ for the forthcoming Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, and blogs about his research at From January – May 2016 he is a British Research Council Fellow at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. In 2017, he will embark on an Edison Fellowship at the British Library to research the intertwined histories of classical, jazz, and ‘dance band’ music on record and radio in interwar Britain. Future plans include research on networks of creative labour in the blues.

Twitter: @allthirteenkeys

Jeremiah Spillane


Jeremiah is a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London. His current research, entitled Identity, Improvisation and Influence: the Stylistic Development and Enduring Legacy of Django Reinhardt focuses on the Manouche jazz guitarist and aims to develop a clearer picture of his stylistic development. Drawing on his background of musicology and cultural heritage studies Jeremiah’s work examines Reinhardt via a critical engagement of his socio-cultural milieux, and within the frame of his geo-historical context. This research pays particular attention to the intersections of genres and the diverse interactions between musicians and styles at a global level.
Research interests include, jazz; swing; bebop; improvisation; noise music.

Niels Overgaard –

Niels Overgaard
The organising committee has great pleasure in announcing conference panel-participation by Niels Overgaard.

Dubbed “no ordinary jazz blogger” by Danish national broadsheet, Politiken, Niels Overgaard has, over the past decade, become Denmark’s most respected and prolific jazz critics. With a deep interest in the music’s historical framework, Niels Overgaard writes predominantly about Danish jazz and, through his unstinting commitment to his interest, has gained an unparalleled overview of jazz from the region.

To appreciate the scope of Niels’ output, visit

Tony Whyton Announced as Keynote Speaker


Tony-Whyton-portraitThe organisers are delighted to announce that the keynote address will be given by Professor Tony Whyton.

Tony Whyton is Professor of Jazz Studies at Birmingham City University (BCU). His critically acclaimed books ‘Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition’ (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and ‘Beyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album’ (Oxford University Press, 2013) have sought to develop cross-disciplinary methods of musical enquiry. As an editor, Whyton published the Jazz volume of the ‘Ashgate Library of Essays on Popular Music’ in 2011 and continues to work as co-editor of the Jazz Research Journal (Equinox). In 2014, he founded the new Routledge series ‘Transnational Studies in Jazz’ alongside BCU colleague Dr Nicholas Gebhardt. Gebhardt and Whyton also edited ‘The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music’ (Routledge) in 2015, a collection that explores the ways in which musician-led collectives offer a powerful model for rethinking jazz practices in the post-war period.

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Continental Drift 2018: Jazz festivals edition

A symposium event organised Edinburgh Napier University in association with the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival.

14 July, 2018, 12:00 – 16:00 at Teviot Row, Edinburgh

Continental Drift presents an afternoon of panel discussions with audience Q&A. Featuring an exciting line-up of international jazz festival programmers, music journalists, musicians, and academics, we anticipate lively debate around key themes including the festivalisation of jazz, the impact of jazz festivals on local and global scenes, future proofing of festival formats, programming philosophies, cultural politics, funding, marketing and legacy.

Tickets: £10 including lunch

Tickets from EVENTBRITE


Browse highlights of our previous conferences below:


Continental Drift 2017: A century of jazz on record

Click on the link below to read journalist Neil Cooper’s inspired and energising panel presentation:
Adventures En Route to a Jazz Education: How Larry Stabbins Changed My Life

Link to Professor George McKay’s blog discussing themes from his thought-provoking and life-affirming keynote address:
George McKay: professor, writer, musician

Continental Drift: A century of jazz on record (2017 Conference) Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery 2017
Click on image to go to 2017 Conference Photo Gallery

Continental Drift 2016: 50 years of jazz from Europe

Conference Proceedings

We are pleased to announce the publication of conference proceedings from Continental Drift: 50 years of jazz from Europe, held in Edinburgh on July 16th – 17th, 2016.

The publication provides a snapshot of the breadth of perspectives that were presented during two days of lively debate and complements video and podcast outputs from four themed panel sessions available on the conference website.

We hope that the combined inputs from the first two years of Continental Drift provides a platform for continuing collaborative investigation and aim to build on these activities in years to come. The work is open access so please feel free to share and distribute as you wish – we are committed to ensuring that conference outputs are not limited to an academic audience.


Continental Drift: 50 years of jazz from Europe (2016 Conference) Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery 2016

Click on image to go to 2016 Conference Photo Gallery page