Aged Audiences Might Be Dwindling, but Jazz Lives On!

I’m sure Fred Burnett won’t mind me cribbing this extract from an item included in his latest JazzNorthWest News Update. It’s highly pertinent to discussions I’ve recently been involved in down south.

Courtesy of JazzNorthWest

“I’ve always advocated midweek daytime jazz as a way of hanging on to the current clientele at jazz sessions as it becomes more difficult for people to venture out at night as they get older. Although it was pointed out to me that it effectively excluded young people from attending, I have to say I haven’t noticed them falling over each other to get into the current sessions at night. One band that is discovering that a midweek lunchtime jazz session can become increasingly successful is Mike Lovell with his Six in a Bar Classic Jazz Band. The North Euston Hotel in Fleetwood has just extended their residency to June 2014. The next event is on 18th December at 12 noon.”

I would be very interested in any views which fellow Jazzers might have on this, as I’m sure Fred would too.

End of The Road

Another related  item in Fred’s News Update, which I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing, concerns the end of the road for Thursday lunchtime jazz at The 100 Club:

“Reading Just Jazz, I see that it’s the end of the line for regular traditional jazz events  at The 100 Club in Oxford Street, London. Kay & Tony Leppard have been keeping up a tradition of regular monthly jazz at the club which first started in 1949. On 12th December they have arranged for the last gig there under the guise of the End-of-the-Line Jazz Band and featuring some great names including North West’s own Ged Hone. Doors open at 11.30am and apparently the chairs at the club have been slowly dwindling and if you can’t get there early there’s a suggestion you take you own seats. Could come in useful too if you’re waiting for a bus amongst all the Christmas shoppers! There will of course be benefit nights, tributes and memorials there for years to come.”

New Beginnings

I featured this recently on Jazz&Jazz: “Jazz at The 100 Club Faces Sad Demise”  but did conclude with a few words of encouragement: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 … unify jazz fans, musicians and bands of all ages.”

The Rich Bennett Band is just one of an emerging number of new bands giving hope to those new beginnings. I featured their recent red hot session at The 100 Club: “They Came, They Saw, They Conquered … All in the Nick of Time!” . Several similar bands full of zest and vibrancy of are featured on Jazz&Jazz and I intend to cover more of them as and when the opportunity arrises.

The Rich Bennett Band at The 100 Club (Photo © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: 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 by simply viewing the plethora of YouTubes featuring yesterday’s greats, vital though they are to jazz, featured on various Facebook Jazz Groups including just recently my Jazzers Group. Please forgive my impertinence, but to me that’s little more than burying our heads in the sands of time rather than reaching out for the future of jazz.

“The Old Hat Band” – “Not so old hat but a talented young group – all in their twenties” Just one more of our emerging younger groups. (Photo courtesy of Laurence Cumming)

I cannot conclude this blog without again thanking Kay and Tony Leppard for presenting live jazz at The 100 Club though thick and thin for so long. Don’t forget, they are both still heavily involved in promoting jazz at The Winning Post in Twickenham – including the emerging new era of younger bands.

Peter Mark Butler
Editor and Proprietor of Jazz&Jazz 

Note: A message to the musicians and bands I’ve been discussing potentials with recently – bear with me, I’ll get back to you asap on this.

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