Hot off the Press: Just Jazz May 2018 Editorial Lamentations

The May issue of Just Jazz Magazine arrived this morning.
The Editorial caught my attention.

Please be sure to read the comments at the foot of this post. Imperative! A must!

It began “This month, Just Jazz celebrates 20 years of dropping through your letterboxes” and continued, quoting Jim McIntosh: “It would be wonderful to say here’s to the next 20 years. I really consider this a tad unlikely”. Today, “the average age of traditional jazz fans and musicians is about 70, so in 20 years’ time…”

The Editorial went on “A few optimists remind us that there is an up-and-coming young fraternity waving the flag, ensuring that our music carries on. Carry on it will, but where and how remains an enigma. Jazz clubs will be long gone as will our wonderful jazz weekends. How on earth are these young musicians going to earn a living playing Traditional Jazz in ten years time……? Adrian Cox, arguably one of our most dedicated youngsters, recently performed with Winton Marsalis, but he had to interrupt a South American tour with the band “Bad Manners” (hardly a Traditional Jazz Band), in order to do it”.

When I first launched Jazz&Jazz it leaned mostly towards Traditional Jazz and I will admit to a residual fondness for it. But we have to recognise that it is far from the benchmark. Explore this site now and you will find several posts featuring the origins of jazz in the early 1900s including 1920s/30s jazz and Mainstream Jazz (but not Modern!). Just one of these is “Jazz can be a popular music all over again.” 

I often recall a conversation I overheard at a Jazz Club. A fan was berating the proprietor for booking a Mainstream Band. The response? “When I feature traditional jazz bands, mainstream fans also come along. This helps keep the club going. But for mainstream bands trad fans stay away. You needn’t have come tonight!”

So Adrian doesn’t just play trad (the YouTube above is a point in question)! But Adrian is one of the mainstays in keeping jazz live and alive! If we can accept and support this, then perhaps Just Jazz Magazine will still be around in 20 years time.

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

(Photos & YouTubes © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)

Comments

  1. tad newton says:

    I am 28!!!

    • Peter Butler says:

      Was that 28111 or 28!!!

      And are you claiming YOU are the “tad unlikely” referred to? Hardly so, surely!!!

  2. Jim McIntosh says:

    If I’m around in 20 years time and can keep up with the technology, I will still be doing it. And, of course, the odd (some would say “very odd”) burst on the banjo!

  3. Norm888 says:

    Just Jazz Mag will only be around if there is still a profit in it. When the time comes that profit dries up, then we will all know jazz, as we know it, is deceased. OK, I’m a cynical git – so be it !

  4. Jim McIntosh says:

    Norm888, please qualify this statement.

  5. Peter Lay says:

    Certain sections of this Editorial have been slightly taken out on connotation. It needs to read in its entirety to have an explanation. In this day and age Traditional jazz covers more than just Dixieland and New Orleans style jazz. Bands considered mainstream in the 1950s would now be considered hard hitting Trad. Tastes have changed over the years. 20 years is a long time in the music business, but the Traditional jazz scene as we know it will be different. Jazz as a music form will never die. If the music we love is to continue, then we have to keep our fingers crossed the younger scene expands its radius and is not just confined to the big cities. Here’s hoping!!

    • Peter Butler says:

      Pete, I fully agree with you and especially with your last sentence! I’ve dwelt on this quite a few times here on Jazz&Jazz. Here are a few quotes from earlier posts I have featured:

      1) “There is a Jazz Revival! Numerous younger bands with growing numbers of enthusiastic young fans are making their mark.”

      2) “The UK has its own brilliant rising stars … …. If you search this website you will discover a good many of them featured along with YouTubes. Yet the gripes continue: “But these bands star in the city venues – why can’t they come to our clubs!”

      Yes, many do favour thriving city venues – because that’s where they can best boost their popularity. That’s where their fans gather – and where jazz is very much live and alive. Was it not ever so? Ken Simms wrote about young jazz fans swarming to city venues in his younger days – when travel wasn’t nearly as easy as today (http://www.jazzandjazz.com/2017/05/between-the-lines-extracts-and-insights-from-ken-sims-random-ramblings-telling-it-as-it-was/#more-23631).

      “A fellow jazz fan stressed recently that jazz clubs dotted around the country can’t be expected to book these bands for “peanuts and poor turnouts”. He added that complaints that younger bands charge clubs too much take the biscuit! They are expected to travel miles to gigs, play for two/three hours and then make their return journeys – or drive on to other clubs – all for a pittance!? And on top of that what about overnight expenses?

      “But they do it! They enjoy livening up the jazz scene for us. Perhaps not as often as we would like because they have to ensure their younger fans take priority – they are their future – and the future of jazz!

      “Is it really the case that us oldies haven’t a spare bob or two to help keep jazz live and alive? Or have we come to take “convenience” jazz for granted?”

      Full Article is at: http://www.jazzandjazz.com/2017/09/25361/#more-25361

      I stated in a comment above: “I am planning editorial changes to jazzandjazz.com and content on the site which I will announce very soon.” This will have a bearing on this very issue.

  6. Norm888 says:

    Thought it was clear enough, all mags, whatever the subject, have to be run at a profit. If the subject, in this case ‘Trad Jazz Events’, decrease, then mag buyers will also decrease, followed by advertisers buying space. and there will therefore come a point where it is not viable to run jazz mags ! Should it happen, in 20 years , or whatever, then I would say we should then know trad jazz has died.
    But you and I Peter, are very much aware that there are lots of very amazing young players (eg Adrian) out there, bringing the old jazz of the 20’s/30’s to us in a vibrant swinging form attracting young and old alike !

    • Peter Butler says:

      Yes, Norm, I agree with your response. As you know I do what I can to feature our younger musicians. In fact I am planning editorial changes to jazzandjazz.com and content on the site which I will announce very soon. See my reply to Pete Lay above.

  7. Norm888 says:

    Pete Lay says (above) he hopes the music of the young will not be confined to the big cities. Well I, and fifteen other jazzers, went along to swell the audience, and support well known, and well traveled, bass man Jim Swinnerton at the inaugural jazz lunch and opening of his Garstang Jazz Club. And Garstang is in the ‘sticks’ ! The young band was The Three Bears, Jim with Tom Kincaid and Jack Cotterill, and guests Mike Owen and violin virtuoso Ben Holder. Next month’s event is already planned and will feature the up and coming reeds star 18 year old Alex Clarke. Yes !, the young are showing the way. Thanks Jim and every success to you.

  8. Norm888 says:

    Florence – she’s good and will get even better with plenty of gigs. You know I’ve been assisting again with Frog & Henry’s second UK tour in 2019. Well, the tour this year was so successful, as a trio with with foot and knee operated double bass and tuba machines, that a quintet will be here for three weeks in February. It is a little early to announce a gig list, but my area, above Birmingham, has eleven confirmed dates, one pending and a gap date we are working to fill. London and the South was not a problem this year, but, for some reason, venues down there seem to commit later. Perhaps like banjo players who take a little longer to mull things over ! F & H will, of course, be at Fest Jazz Brittany again end of July, with New Orleans’ super all girl band ‘Shake ’em Up’ and some other young promising bands. See you there.

  9. Norm888 says:

    Ewan is one of the most pleasant of young men, as well as being in the top echelon of reed players in the UK and beyond. The trio, including Ryan Baer and Dave Neigh, stayed over with us when they played for me on my final promotion this past February. These young guys are inspirational, great company (Tad’s 28 and I’m 38 next week) and, taking their music very seriously, it’s water only while playing. I’m going to talk to a few people up North, we should be having the ‘Brawlers’ on here. Makes me want to start again, but my wife says she’d leave me, and I’d miss her after 25 (!) years !

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