The place where related and unrelated snippets, facts and stories about jazz happening appear.
The jazz scene in the UK is buzzing at the moment. Clubs whose managers not so long ago were faced with the difficult decision whether to continue offering new sounds to a dwindling audience or turn themselves into a wine bar--offering small slices of live music to appease their consciences perhaps--are finding it was worth hanging in there. It seems free music has been saved--not by record companies wanting to pour in their millions but by the very nature of British audiences. British music listeners have eclectic tastes. Of course, there are clubs full to the rafters every night offering ...read more
By the time Ian Dury had his first major hit, he was 35 years old. With frightening speed he and his band became household names and Dury remained a national treasure until his death at the age of 57 in 2000.However, before the Kilburns, the Blockheads or the Music Students, before he was bewitched by the overpowering enchantment of fame, sex, drugs or rock and roll, Dury had a different life. He was an artist, a teacher and creator of images. Now, over 40 years since the creation of some of those works, his first solo exhibition is ...read more
Gina Southgate and The People BandThe VortexLondon, UKMay 11, 2013On a Saturday evening in the heart of Dalston, East London, The People Band once again graced The Vortex with its free form and improvised style of jazz. As the group played, artist Gina Southgate, with the help of a very computer-literate assistant, created live paintings which were projected on a screen behind the musicians.The collaboration created a visual and audio spectacle which proved almost too much to take in. The People Band provided music which showed free playing at its ...read more
The People BandCafé OtoLondon, UKMarch 6, 2013Café Oto, Dalston, London was the setting for a performance by legendary free form group, The People Band. Formed in the 1960s and led by drummer Terry Day and pianist/multi-instrumentalist Mel Davis, the group has played on and off right through to the present day. The lineup for this gig included Day, drums and percussion; Davis, piano and keyboards; George Khan, saxophones and flute; Mike Figgis, trumpet, bass guitar, keyboards; Paul Jolly, saxophones; Charlie Hart, double bass, guitar and violin; Adam Hart, keyboards; Tony Edwards, percussion; ...read more
Late at night while walking recently through Covent Garden, London, I was stopped in my tracks by the sweetest voice I had heard in a long while. Signaling my friend, we set off to find the source.All we could see was a crowd of dancing people but we managed to squeeze in and found the source of the singing was a diminutive figure of a girl with blonde hair, a backing track playing on a CD player and a microphone. She was grinning, hugely enjoying herself and treating the crowd to some of the most beautiful singing imaginable. ...read more
It is a funny thing but when you are young, you expect things to be short- lived and to fade almost as quickly as they become popular, like the crazes of deely boppers, leg warmers and clackers, which at the time, were must-haves. It was the same with music--the teenage idols in the '70s were The Bay City Rollers, Donny Osmond and David Cassidy, The Who and Queen. At the time, each craze enjoys a brief passion unless, like some of us, you always preferred jazz; but inevitably, life, loves and responsibilities take over and you put these things to ...read more
Jazz has influenced many other genres of music and, likewise, many other genres have influenced jazz from its very beginning. What is really exciting about the scene at the moment is just how much enrichment it is getting from the rest of the world. It works both ways, of course; jazz musicians from countries which have, until recently, had very small scenes are benefitting from warm receptions in established venues. Audiences are benefitting from having an increasingly diverse range of artists and music styles to experience. In part due to improved accessibility along with the evolution of the Internet and ...read more