Vitamin S
19 years of improvisation.
Every Monday night at The Wine Cellar
Auckland's most innovative and unusual free improvisation event
Amazing Results Happen Regularly
Gold Coin Entry
Improvising community
Better Living With Vitamin S

About Vitamin-S

What is Vitamin-S? The Vitamin-S pool night was devised as a place where those interested in improvised music and performance could meet, perform, listen to and discuss, and generally interact with all aspects of this complex and largely misunderstood art form. As improvisation is the most widely practised of genres, it may be necessary to define two main forms:

  1. Idiomatic improvisation: much the most widely used and concerned with the expression of an idiom - jazz or flamenco for example, and taking its identity and motivation from that idiom.
  2. 2. Non-idiomatic improvisation: here other concerns are fundamental. It is usually found in so-called 'free' improvisation.

It is the second of these two forms that Vitamin-S is concerned to promote. There are three main tentacles by which Vitamin-S explores non-idiomatic improvisation:

  1. Random trios (in the time of Covid)
    These trios, usually two per night, are drawn in advance from the Vitamin-S pool. Anyone can join (Go to: Join the Pool). Each trio performs for up to 45 minutes and there are few rules or constraints regarding the direction their improvisation might take, but it's worth noting that this is not a jam night or open mic night. Each improvised piece is a special and unique moment in time that will never be repeated and can only be experienced fully live at a Vitamin-S event.                                                                                              Currently (April 2021) we live-stream the Pool Nights direct from the Wine Cellar to YouTube.  The link can be found on the Home Page.
  2. Organised ensembles, also exploring a defined theme, methodology, direction or approach to a given piece. These ensembles, such as 10 Acre Bloc, are comprised largely, although not exclusively, of pool members and tend to have more of a life outside Vitamin-S . The pieces are usually more structured, although not necessarily in a conventional or obvious sense.  Since the pandemic, these events have been shelved.  However, as NZ emerges, we are again looking at a monthly 10Acre Bloc rehearseal/performance.  Previously these events were organised on the last Monday of the month and replaced that evening's Pool Night.  We had been exploring a 'Conduction' approach to large group improvisation using a system of cues/signals (developed originally by Butch Morris).                                                                                                                                                                                            10AB is Vitamin S' large group improvising ensemble. These conduction workshops will specifically explore techniques involved in performing in a large group.

In addition, whenever we have performers from other NZ centres or from overseas, we ask them to facilitate workshops for Vitamin-S members. These are always well attended, interesting and nothing if not thought provoking. It's an opportunity to work with performers from all styles and experiences and to try out ideas - your own, or those brought in by others. The evening usually starts with an unstructured improvisation, following which ideas and pieces are explored. Bring an open mind, an ability to listen and a gold coin.

Covid-19 has essentially brought a halt to visiting performers from overseas.  However, we have included some in our Monday Pool Nights, remotely live-streaming from the comfort and safety of their own living rooms.

You can experience Vitamin S every Monday at the Wine Cellar, St Kevin's Arcade. And here's a quote to send you on your way: "Our music is about the inadequacy of traditional imagery and symbols to convey meaning in today's world. By abandoning representationalism we are free to express ourselves with pure form. Specific interpretation gives way to a more visceral response." from: Calvin and Hobbes

Thanks Creative New Zealand