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Bebop Spoken There

Marc Myers: " If the original group with Baker was Dover sole, the group with Brookmeyer was beef stew." - (JazzWax, December 7, 2019).

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Today Monday December 9

Afternoon

Jazz

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

St Cuth’s Big Band - St Cuthbert’s Society, 12 South Bailey, Durham DH1 3EE. 8:00pm. Free (donations). St Cuth’s Big Band ‘Christmas Concert’. Concert in dining hall, licensed bar

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Use it or Lose it - Grass Roots Jazz in crisis.

Jazz Festivals abound in all parts of the country and by all accounts are well supported. Certainly the ones I've visited over the past few years - London, Gateshead, Scarborough, Lockerbie, Whitley Bay (now Classic Jazz Party) - have been well attended. Southport and Cheltenham appear to be going from strength to strength so why aren't the festival-goers supporting their local scene.
I can't speak for other parts of the country, and I'd be interested to hear from anyone involved in jazz promotion, but here in the north east of the UK it seems as though "fans" are reluctant to turn out in sufficient numbers to make jazz a viable proposition for any well meaning entrepreneur. 
Even free admission gigs where bar takings decide on the bands future are taking a hit. An exception could be quoted re the various lunchtime trad sessions that abound in the NE. However, as these are in the main the habitat of the elderly, I doubt if much cash flows over the bar from the half of bitter they make last for a couple of hours!
Is this a nationwide malaise or just a local one?

5 comments :

Steve Andrews said...

It's just the same over here in Cumbria, I'm afraid (I do more gigs in the NE than the NW!). Two Jazz Clubs: Carlisle -every Thursday; elderly audience, predominently "Trad/N.O." (although not entirely); and Kendal - once a month, wider brief from N.O. to quite modern and all points in between. Faithful, fairly elderly audience. Pub gigs virtually none existent and rarely last more than a few weeks, except for more Rock/Blues based stuff like Fusionhead, Olly Alcock Band, etc., which can appeal to a wider, younger audience.
I know from my own kids - both musicians, 23 and 19, that jazz has no relevance to them or their musical tastes, and they were brought up with the music!
I'm very pessimistic about the future of Jazz at local level, although, paradoxically, many of the latest crop of young/younger players, are much better than we were - e.g. Paul Edis, and several others I've heard or played with.....

Jack Davies said...

In terms of bums on seats at least, the London scene is pretty well supported amongst audiences of all ages. Yes obviously things could be better, and Jazz Festival is much busier than the rest of the year, but the small clubs have a pretty regular crowd of often young people who are very into the music.

Tony Dudley-Evans said...

Things are quite good in Birmingham with consistent audiences for most events, ranging from 30 to 350. Cobweb Collective/Conservatoire associated gigs also do well. I think it is the range of the music that is put on that is the attraction and there is a reasonable age range in audiences

Babel blog said...

Guessing from these comments, and based on own experience in London, could it be the necessity to evolve a new generation of audience? It's a mixture of type of gig, price and ambiance. Possibly also that there isn't a new generation of organisers, who tap their friends and the jazz zeitgeist of 2012. How can we get the urban buzz of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds through to the grass roots?

Carbon Unicycle said...

I don't think it's a local malaise or even nationwide. For the last four years I have been lucky enough to be in Japan at the time of the Tokyo Jazz festival and I have seen it steadily dwindle. I think that it's a matter of finance. I think the talent is definitely there, but these days it's difficult for some new comers to get off the ground. I am lucky to live in London where there are a few clubs around and a few new ones popping up. I mourn the disappearance of Ray's Jazz shop (now in Foyles) and the Bass Clef etc. Perhaps universities could host festivals (eg showing free Jazz movies) that would perhaps generate interest? I don't think that Jazz will disappear. It will have its ups and downs, but it will always be there.