Celebrating Twenty Years of Just Jazz Magazine

The May edition of Just Jazz will mark the monthly magazine’s 20th Anniversary.

The April edition includes an article by Jim McIntosh (extracts below) reflecting on the Editorial Team’s experiences in publishing the magazine each and every month “in the face of adversity from the Internet”.

Jim, 2011, at Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle.

“The May Edition will mark the 20th Anniversary of Just Jazz. Little did we (Pete Lay, Mike and Sylvia Murtagh, Jim Pack, myself, and a few months later John Rickard) know what we were letting ourselves in for! …………

“One of the early topics was whether jazz bands should sit down or not. The general consensus of opinion was that bands should stand up, as they did in the Trad Boom. …… present day young bands from New Orleans sit down apart from the string bass and the odd wash-boardist. A recent topic was whether one of these groups should tour the UK and “save” us. Altogether now: ‘Why are we waiting??’

“One of the most daunting challenges of producing Just Jazz was (is) the ever-changing face of computer technology. In 2000, the Phil Mason band played for about five weeks in Australia, and how (with myself in Australia, Pete Lay and the rest of the team in the UK) we ever got that month’s issue out remains a bit of a blur. I do remember begging the help of a top Melbourne design agency. One guy, being a jazz fan who actually knew of Ashley Keating and his Louisiana Shakers, came to the rescue. ………

Grand Marshal Jimbo leads the Autumn Parade

“The death of John Rickard was a great loss to the team, as was Jim Pack. So now we are Mike and Sylvia Murtagh, Pete Lay and myself. With a lot of help from our friends, we are still going strong, despite the loss of many superb contributors. Happily, we still have many great writers and photographers sending their stuff in – and long may they continue to do so…

“Please keep sending us your stories, new items and photographs.” (To: The Editor, Just Jazz, 92 Mid Street, South Nutfield, Surry RH1 4JH)

Jim McIntosh

The Just Jazz Traditional Jazz Magazine Editorial Team are:

Pete Lay: Editor
Mike Murtagh: Production
Jim McIntosh: Typesetting & Design

(Photos © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)


  1. Norm888 says:

    Jolly Jim, and I do like him, refers above to a recent topic, young bands from New Orleans coming to the UK, and “Why are we waiting ?” Easily answered, the big boys leave it, to quote someone who shall be nameless, to us ‘amateur promoters to get on with it’. Well we can and will do it. A two week UK tour we arranged in February was so successful for Frog & Henry Trio, that the three week tour, with a quintet, in 2019, is 70% full already at this early stage. While the like of Keswick can only manage to engage Marla from Shot Gun JB, a little club in the Midlands has her coming with husband John and a pick of some fine players. Upton, I see, have booked a great young band, ‘Mama Shakers’, from Paris, and I expect them to steal the show. A Swing Dance Society in Leeds are bringing in ‘Naomi and Her Handsome Devils’ next month from Chicago. Yes the great young bands are visiting our shores, and, I suppose at some stage our big ‘professional’ festival promoters will learn from us and jump on the bandwagon. But we should not forget a lot of our own homegrown young bands making their mark, Mainly I have to say, playing at swing dance venues, ‘Louis Louis Louis’, Alligator Gumbo’, Old Hat JB etc etc. Norm888

  2. Peter Lay says:

    Interesting comments from Norman, some I whole heartedly agree with, but in general he is talking about an audience based mainly in the North. Club attitudes are different and their likes and dislikes are totally different to those South of Manchester. I have long tried to promote young, new, exciting bands at some of my week-end Jazz Breaks, but I am greeted with the proverbial, “who are they”, “don’t know them”, “not sure about them”, “never heard of them”, “not sure if I’ll like them” – despite all my guarantees that they are ‘first class’ the folk won’t buy tickets. There is a reticence about booking for my Summer Jazz Party because, guess what – “never heard of them”, “are they any good”. Amateur or Professional promoters suffer from the same prejudices, if the folk ain’t sure, you can’t get them to go.
    I think in general the article (EDITORIAL) written was aimed at the jazzers and jazz clubs. The Swing Dance scene is a whole different scene, although there are musical parallels, there are very few audience members that cross both lines. I think Jim’s comments are meant to stir up comment not derive criticism. As you know Norman, too many sit on their hands, won’t put their hand in their pocket. It’ll be them who will be first to complain when they have nothing to go and see.
    The trouble in general is that we preach to the already converted, the message isn’t getting out to those who are on the periphery.

  3. Peter Lay says:

    Hi Peter,
    I am aware of this band, being that I know their banjo player. He speaks highly of them and enjoys working with them.
    How about folk checking out the Basin Street Brawlers, West End Syncopators, The Dime Notes, Vitality Five.

    • Peter Butler says:

      Yes, Frog Island.

      Thanks for these. I have a list of such bands I plan to feature, Pete. Trouble is nowadays I’m becoming swamped by requests and with monitoring activities on my Social Media sites and YouTube site. Due to the growing impact my YouTubes are making I prefer to feature them first hand rather than second hand. As we all know there’s not much money in this so I have to ration my coverage – for instance to bands as they visit clubs in my locality where I am admitted for free. We are all spread thin.

  4. Norm888 says:

    Perhaps I’m lucky, now in my 80’s, I, and my wife, mix easily and freely with younger and older jazzers alike. We just allow the common love of the music to bind us. So, although I have retired from Jazz evening promotion, I am able to give time to help Frog & Henry, with their wishes to enthrall UK audiences with their amazing early jazz. This year’s tour was a challenge with just a trio and it was a big success. Although, as PL says, ‘attitudes are totally different South of Manchester’, we happy lot up here just managed to get F & H on stage in three jazz clubs this year. Different tune for the 2019 tour – already ten Northern Clubs have made bookings, with another club and swing dance venue pending. Promotion and word of mouth good news work wonders. Pete is right, the Swing Dance scene is totally different, this year all the venues South of Manchester who staged F & H were swing groups, and next year, with the exception of two jazz clubs, it’s all heading towards swing dance again. It will not be many years before jazz fans will have to go to swing venues to listen to the music ! Norm888



  6. Peter Swensson. says:


    My name is Peter Swensson a member of the Savoy Jazzmen in Liverpool. We have a monthly session in a Liverpool and wonder if you would interested in a write up of our December concert. I’m happy to send you details if you can give me your contact details.

    Many thanks,


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