Back in August The Sussex Jazz Kings gave their last performance at London’s 100 Club in Oxford Street, once upon a time the thriving mecca of Jazz.
For years Tony and Kay Leppard have loyally staged live jazz at Thursday lunchtime sessions. But with falling attendances and increasing costs, simply put, the pressures are now becoming too great. Besides which they are heavily involved in promoting jazz closer to home at The Winning Post in Twickenham.
Laurence Cumming sent me photos of The Sussex Kings 100 Club gig, so with only a few opportunities left this year to catch other great bands in Oxford Street, this is the first of my final Jazz&Jazz posts on the Thursday lunchtime line ups.
I have asked Kay to let me know the bands playing there between now and the final event in December and will include details in my next post due shortly, bemoaning this great loss to the jazz world.
The End of The Jazz Age?
John Petters recently commented on my Facebook Jazzers Group: “Peter, I don’t see a way to reverse this. We had about 5 percent of people who booked to come to Bracklesham last week who died. In effect the loss was greater because their partners then dropped out as well. One regular suffered a heart attack, one lady in a group of three needed care, so we lost all three. We are at the end of the jazz age which effectively started in 1953.”
There is a stark and growing dichotomy between older and younger jazz fans, because, yes, as I’ve demonstrated throughout Jazz&Jazz and on Jazzers, younger fans are returning to jazz in increasing numbers and younger bands are flourishing. The dichotomy results from the “oldies” sitting back and enjoying their favourite “oldie” bands and musicians in sedentary fashion whilst the younger generation of fans echo our pasts and the thriving, dynamic jazz of the 1950s and 60s when The 100 Club was top dollar.
But why allow this dichotomy to continue? If older fans love jazz so much why miss out? Why not get along to join in with the younger fans at their venues? And in turn, why not encourage and welcome the younger bands to play at and liven up our staid old clubs? That would be far better than sitting back and mulling over the past.
We are not at the end of the jazz age. There are new beginnings. Jazz lives on and one of my key aims as editor and moderator of Jazz&Jazz along with my Facebook Jazzers Group is to annul the dichotomy and unify jazz fans, musicians and bands of all ages.
So watch this space.
Photos courtesy of Laurence Cumming