"Dancing:" It's A Dirty Word
Members of the general, non-jazz, media were conspicuous by their absence and there was a splendid lack of pretension about the evening. The mainstream British music scene runs its award ceremonies in a desperate and doomed attempt at rivaling the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. British jazz's pre-eminent awards event more closely resembled a school fête. Mums, dads and teachers made polite, if occasionally hesitant, conversation in the marquee while many of the cheekier young pupils spent their time outside, out of sight of the grown-ups, where they could sneak a few crafty cigarettes and, possibly, tell a few risqué stories.
The dress code was relaxedextremely relaxed in one or two casesand there was a general air of irreverence about the evening. Award winners were all warmly congratulated by those present, but most of the speeches received little attention from the assembled jazz people. The Parliamentarians who attended, from the Commons and the Lords, seemed to have a real love for the music. It was gratifying to hear that most of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group's members held their seats in the recent election and equally gratifying to see that one or two new MPs have an interest in jazz.
Live entertainment was provided by the Phil Robson Trio, joined as the evening progressed by a succession of guests including vocalists Christine Tobin and Cleveland Watkiss. It was particularly pleasing to see genuinely influential musicians like Stan Tracey and Norma Winstone enjoying the night. Musicians like these have spent decades in the UK jazz scene, often working with the slimmest of budgets yet still creating some terrifically innovative music. Creative and innovative, even with limited financial resources...I think that's where this article started.
All photos: Bruce Lindsay