Jazzers’ Debate No 3: Mentoring and Jazz Clubs


Jazzers’ Debate No 3

Mentoring and Jazz Clubs


Jeff Matthews

I wrote an article in ‘Just Jazz’ magazine last year about a trip I took to New Orleans. Part of the reason for the trip was to check out the traditional New Orleans jazz course organised by Banu Gibson and her team. They were very interested in helping me/us in the UK put on a similar course. We are not talking about teaching the basics. We are talking about master classes, etc. Many of the musicians attending the course were already well known Pro’s and semi Pro’s. The lecturers were all well known professionals. It was exhilarating!

I had no interest shown in the idea as a result of that article from musicians here in the UK…..Until just recently when two well known UK traditional jazz musicians were interested in exploring the idea further. Does anyone else on Jazzers want to discuss this further? Post and also contact me on: [email protected]

Peter Mark Butler You know I am, Jeff! Ties in with the other aspects we’ve been discussing and also other debates on Jazzers.

Nita Fairley Hemeter Excellent Jeff, great news, run with it.. xo Nita

Peter Mark Butler Support from New Orleans there, Jeff. As Nita says, let’s run with it!

Jeff Matthews Hi Nita. What a great job you did on that course. It also raises the profile of this music and from what I saw, promoted New Orleans jazz, which is far from dead. It struggles at times to get the attention it deserves, but is resilient and will win in the end. Maybe we should try and find a successful UK festival to attach ‘master classes’ in New Orleans jazz to. Could be fun!

Jeff Matthews Ok, we have 200 plus jazzers on this list. Lets hear your thoughts even if you think it is a stupid idea, won’t work or isn’t necessary. Maybe you would like to contribute your services or even mentor a musician. Lets discuss it or lay it to rest.

Louis Lince I’m up for mentoring

Peter Mark Butler Great Louis! That’s one mentor within minutes, Jeff! There are now over 220 Jazzers on the group, more than I had anticipated at this stage when I launched it – and I haven’t even attempted a “recruiting campaign” yet.

Jeff Matthews Fantastic Louis. What a great opportunity for new and improving banjo players to get top advice from you. Thank you sir.

DixieMix Jazzband I’d love to attend. Obviously it’s all dependent on gigs allowing me the time. If we’re to go ahead maybe early in the new year. From experience always a quiet time for gigs??

Jeff Matthews Sounds good to me. I think a list of mentors for a range of instruments would be a good start. Louis is The first. How about you Simon. Trumpet mentor? I found a reference in an old New Orleans book somewhere which talked about how this music was passed on in the early days. It was passed down from musician to musician. It was done by mentorship – as well as tuition.

DixieMix Jazzband In all honesty I still want to learn!! I would probably struggle as a mentor as I don’t really read music or chords. I have always played by ear. It’s something I’m working on.

Jeff Matthews I feel a mentor needs a love for the music, enough knowledge of the history of the music to understand it and a desire to encourage and help someone progress. A mentor is not a teacher of musical theory. But is a helping hand. A reference point along the way. Answers questions: “How do I get that sound/play that tune/which strings or reeds do you recommend”. I use my ears and I also read music/arrangements to some degree. Often I wish I could do what you do and play entirely by ear without reference to any dots. That is something I am working on too. Wouldn’t it be great to form a knowledge base of experts within this music who will share there expertise.


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  1. David Price says:

    Hello Chaps
    – just in case you’re interested, I run a Banjo Weekend at Benslow Music Trust in Hitchin, Herts. We cover many aspects of jazz, improvisation, rhythm, jazz licks and much more. I’ve taught the banjo for 40 years and done more or less everything you could do on banjo from symphony orchestra to solo. This year’s course is 20-22 September, 2013. Tel: 01462 459446.

    If you can use me for your mentoring/jazz teaching projects, I’m interested.
    David Price A.L.C.M. (banjoist) 01277 824616 [email protected]

  2. Peter Butler says:

    Cross linked to my Facebook Jazzers Group.

  3. Jeff Matthews says:

    Hi David, thank you for your response. Something to keep in mind for the future. I really think that the mentoring idea has much merit to it as well. We could do with more volunteers on all instruments.

  4. Mike Summers says:

    Please excuse the intrusion on this thread. I just want to know how to contact Jazz & Jazz. How does a band get mentioned? It seems that some jazz outside the UK is included too, and I’d like to mention that I’ve been leading and managing a six-piece vintage jazz band (largely British) on the northern Costa Blanca for the last few years (almost impossible as that is) though I don’t take credit for starting the band. I joined The Jubilee Jazz Band because it is the most authentic vintage jazz band which I know of in Spain, dedicating itself to the early New Orleans and Chicago styles.

  5. Peter Butler says:

    Good to hear from you Mike.

    I’ve left a message on your site and would be pleased to include The Jubilee Jazz Band on Jazz&Jazz. Let me know more about the band and your audience in Costa Blanca and I’m sure we’ll able to put together a fascinating feature – along with some good photos of course. Best we plan this by email so I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes


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