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Monday, October 01, 2012

A Public Meeting JAZZ IN THE NORTH EAST THE WAY FORWARD?

Tuesday 23rd October | 7.00pm
Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society | 23 Westgate Road | Newcastle NE1 1SE
Free admission
The times they are a-changing.
The winding up of Jazz Action, the creation of the new Jazz North, the financial pressures on local authorities and other funding organisations, all mean that the context for jazz promotion in the North East looks very different from how it was even just a few years ago.
And, of course, the music itself moves on. The quality and diversity on offer is greater than ever, with young players breaking down boundaries between genres to create inventive new approaches. Potentially there is something for everybody, but with some older audiences resisting change, and some younger audiences dismissing all jazz as ‘old hat’, promoters have an uphill struggle introducing artists to audiences.
In response to these changing times,  the region’s two most adventurous promoters, Jazz North East and Schmazz, have decided to merge next year. But they want to create a whole that is much more than the sum of the parts – they see the merger process as an opportunity to review the whole issue of jazz provision and development throughout the North East.
So, on Tuesday 23rd October, they are calling an open meeting for anybody – promoters, musicians, audiences – who would like to see a healthy future for jazz in the region. The meeting will be chaired by Chris Hodgkins, the Director of the national jazz development agency Jazz Services . . . a recognition of how important our region is considered to be in the national jazz landscape.
The agenda for the meeting has yet to be drawn up, but it will be designed to allow the widest possible discussion, with the widest range of views aired . . . what sort of music do fans want to hear in the future? . . .how can the merged organization improve its marketing to reach a bigger audience? . . . can it help bring bands to places that are currently jazz-starved? . . . how can it work more closely with clubs, promoters and venues throughout the region? 
The answers to these, and many other questions, will help shape the provision of jazz in the region over the coming years. So, even if you haven’t been to a gig for ages (perhaps because you’re not happy with what’s currently on offer), don’t miss this opportunity to have your say. I’ll provide more information as it becomes available, but in the meanwhile I urge you to get this date into your diary.
Dave Clarke (JNE)

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