Eyes on the Master: Jazz Portrait of Sammy Rimington and Amy Roberts in Duet

Eyes on the Master: Jazz Portrait of Amy Roberts and Sammy Rimington

Amy Roberts, then “the new kid on the block”, accompanying maestro Sammy Rimington at the Ken Colyer Trust 2008 Autumn Jazz Parade. Recognising Amy’s huge talent, Sammy invited her to play duet with him on the final evening of the Parade. The next morning I overheard him stressing the need to to persuade Amy to stay with jazz: “Amy’s got a natural talent and feel for the music. She’s got rhythm. She’s the future of jazz.”

Since then Amy has gone from strength to strength playing clarinet, sax and flute, and is featured in several other posts on Jazz&Jazz.

Jazz&Jazz Fine Art Print of “Eyes on the Master”

Eyes on the Master

Saxes reach crescendo
And bridge a generation
With rhythmic syncopation.
Spotlight on the Starlet
With eyes on the Pro.

I write a poem to accompany each of my fine art prints of jazz musician paintings and Amy and Sammy in duet inspired Eyes on the Master.

Fine Art Giclée Prints of this portrait are available, with or without my descriptive poem. Simply email: [email protected] to place your order and help support jazz.

See also: Portrait of Amy on Solo Sax and of Reeds in Duet, Amy playing with Adrian Cox.

Introducing Tuba Skinny! Flying the Flag for a New Era of New Orleans Jazz Bands.

Facebook can be very ephemeral. Subjects raised one day are soon downgraded by the welter of information flooding in not just by the minute but by the second. So to keep issues in the public eye, or rather in Jazzers’ eyes, from time to time I post issues and debates on this site and then recycle them periodically on Facebook.

This is one of those issues.

I got back into jazz a few years ago. I say back into, because ‘in the beginning’ I got into jazz with a group of chums following the trend. Then in 2008 my oldest chum said he and his wife had got back into jazz and that my wife and I should join them at The Hemsby Autumn Jazz Parade. So we did and this time I began to take jazz seriously and came to realise its tragic decline.

Then in 2009 Ginny won the Ken Collyer Trust Prize Draw for a fantastic trip to New Orleans for the 2010 French Quarter Festival. By that time I had made numerous contacts through my jazz portraits and now there was no going back.

So I launched www.jazzandjazz.com, then joined Facebook and launched my Facebook Jazzers Group – all aimed at raising the profile of jazz for jazz bands, musicians and fans. Numerous debates ensued on Jazzers about the plight of jazz, ageing fans, weary jazz clubs AND the lack of younger bands, musicians and fans. Not only that but the decline of jazz in New Orleans itself.

So to the heart of the matter! There are younger bands out there – in the USA, UK and around the world. And right now, to demonstrate what this article is all about I want to feature just one of these bands, Tuba Skinny, recently introduced to me by Jazzers Group Member Edward Lloyd-Hughes.

Tuba Skinny bring New Orleans to Sydney Australia

Their website, http://tubaskinny.bandcamp.com, says it all and is music to the ears:

Formed in in 2009, Tuba Skinny has steadily evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into a solid ensemble dedicated to bringing the traditional New Orleans sound to audiences around the world. Drawing on a wide range of musical influences—from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz—their sound evokes the rich musical heritage of their New Orleans home. The band has gained a loyal following through their distinctive sound, their commitment to reviving long-lost songs, and their barnstorming live performances.”

You can listen to their jazz on youtube and here are just two links:

Live set, ABC National Radio, Sydney, Australia: http://youtu.be/ffXQ6qH3gwU

Tuba Skinny with Erika Lewis on vocals performing at Louisiana Busker Fest in Abita Springs, La 22.4.2013: http://youtu.be/hTainjvzeoI

So just a few stills courtesy of ABC, Australia. The names of the musicians are announced during the video.

Tuba Skinny is just one of a number of new US bands who, along with UK bands and musicians such as The Bennett Brothers, The Martin Brothers, The Adrian Cox Quartet, Dom Pipkin & The Ikos, The Brownfield Byrne Quintet, Jonny Boston and Amy Roberts bely fears that, as one punter put it on Linkedin “jazz music is going to die soon”. There is no lack of talented bands and musicians.

But they don’t follow the traditional marketing methods. They promote themselves differently, using the internet and modern communications to appeal to younger fans. Adrian Cox pointed out to me recently that 90% of his Quartet’s fans are age group 18 to 30.


Reading Sammy Rimington’s book “A Life in Pictures” it strikes me that back in his early days things were much the same as today. He had to make his own way on the jazz scene along with other up and coming bands. What’s more, back then they had to push promotion and win gigs for themselves without the aid of the internet. Neither was there a Jazz Guide in those days.

I’ve rerun a series of Jazzers Debates on these issues on Jazz&Jazz, under: https://www.jazzandjazz.com/category/jazz-world-interviews/ . I’ve also written a feature on the site “Analysing The Jazz Scene – Past, Present and Future”.

So older bands, clubs and fans shouldn’t bemoan the plight of jazz. We should lift our heads above the parapet to see whats happening out there and somehow get in on the act with a new lease of jazz life. We shouldn’t just fade away. We should re-involve ourselves and join in with and support a whole new generation of Jazzers, then they might be more inclined to join in with us.

Long Live New Orleans Revivalist Jazz!


“I want to play jazz like that!” Analysing the Jazz Scene – Past, Present and Future

“All need not be lost. The potential for a traditional jazz revival is already there
be seized upon if only the “oldies”, bands and fans alike, would lift their eyes
above their parapets! The key is in emerging younger bands. Because there really
are a number of up and coming younger bands out there making their mark in true
New Orleans style.”

Such is my depth of feeling about the steady decline of Traditional Jazz, and indeed jazz as a whole, over recent decades that I felt impelled to contribute this article to Just Jazz magazine, published in the August, 2012, issue and reproduced here with the kind permission of editor, Pete Lay.

Peter M Butler, Founder of Jazz&Jazz.com

Times have changed since I first took to jazz when it was in its heyday back in the 1950s/1960s. But I was just a teenager following trends and one of the trends I latched onto was Traditional Jazz. Those were the days when Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball were making their mark and Sammy Rimington was big close to my home in Kent. Ken Colyer was beyond my reach! It’s not that I became a devoted follower back then – rather that I preferred “Stranger on the Shore” to “Living Doll”.

So I don’t pretend to be a jazz aficionado and in my article in the May issue of Just Jazz I explain just how I got back into jazz a few years ago and why I launched the website Jazz&Jazz.com.

Not much of a pedigree, I admit, but during those intervening years, sadly jazz has been in a steady decline as frivolous musical tastes have changed and the core fan base has aged. This troubled me immensely, especially when I realised just what I had been missing. But in those same years I had at least developed PR, photography and web skills which perhaps I can now apply to aid the cause traditional jazz. Not to analyse, critique or review the music, bands and musicians – that’s the role of the true jazz professionals. Rather to take a neutral, unbiased overview of the jazz scene today in which the only axe I have to grind will become apparent.

L/R: Bob Thomas of Bob Thomas and The Thomcats, Peter Butler, Acker Bilk, Brian Smith of Welwyn Garden City’s Peartree Jazz Club

Meeting an increasing number of musicians, bands and fans, supporting my local Peartree Monday Jazz Club in Welwyn Garden City, helping launch the brand new Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle Jazz Festival in Kent and running Jazz&Jazz.com is helping firm up my overview of the current day jazz scene.

But first, a couple of other pretty relevant opinions. Although based on the American scene, there are clear parallels in the UK.

It was good to see four youngsters from Sweden at Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle. They even purchased two Seaside Shuffle T-Shirts!

How do we develop and maintain a strong jazz audience?
Kurt Ellenberger (pianist, composer and music professor) makes some pertinent comments about the current state of jazz in an article entitled ‘It Can’t Be Done’: The Difficulty Of Growing A Jazz Audience’ published by NPR Music as recently as 23rd May this year. 

‘When we ask “How do we develop and maintain a strong jazz audience?” what we are really saying is “How can we convince millions of people to alter and expand their aesthetic sensibilities and their cultural proclivities so that they include jazz to such an extent that they will regularly attend concerts and purchase recordings?” And that statement itself is embedded within another Herculean task: “How can we convince people to embrace music that is no longer part of the popular culture?”

‘What we’re really talking about when we complain about the jazz scene…… is not that jazz is dying creatively, or that it’s lost its vitality. It’s that there isn’t enough work and the work that’s there doesn’t pay enough. Those of us who were born between 1950 and 1970 came up in a very different environment than that which exists today.

‘I think it’s clear that obtaining a reasonable income in jazz …  is becoming exceedingly difficult. Those of us who grew up in the arts bubble were very fortunate to come up in an era that was, relatively speaking, flush with cash, which makes the new reality very difficult to accept. But historically speaking, this was an aberration. Beethoven had money problems, Mozart died broke, and I’m sure that we’re all aware of the many incredibly talented and influential jazz musicians of the last 75 years who needed benefit concerts to pay for medical care and funeral expenses as they entered middle and old age.’

It’s worth reminding ourselves of that old gag attributed to Sonny Morris, “If you want to make a million out of jazz, start with two million!”

Kurt Ellenberger (courtesy of the artist)

‘Jazz is not dying …’
Yet Ellenberger continues:

‘As aggravating and depressing as all of this may be, I don’t see it as a “doom and gloom” scenario; to the contrary, I think that jazz is actually thriving, not dying ……

‘Jazz as a creative force is not going away. In fact, I would go so far to stay that it will never go away because of the depth of its materials, its rich history and canon, and its openness to new influences.

‘Wasn’t jazz a street music to begin with? A hybrid that drank from many wells and remade itself every decade (much to the chagrin of many artists then and now)? Why not write music that utilizes electronics and looping, hip-hop, rap, gamelan, minimalism, trance, rock, yodeling, country and anything else that you listen to and find interesting? These things will happen because people need to express themselves, not because they need to land a gig.’

Ellenberger presents an interesting and well argued case which needs to be considered.

‘How can we make jazz vital once more?’

Responding to Ellenberger, Kotaku.com Editor Kirk Hamilton made the following observations in his May 24th article entitled Growing the Jazz Audience ‘Can’t Be Done. Maybe That’s Okay? :

‘Look, I’m under no illusions about jazz music’s unpopularity. I grew up playing jazz, went to school to study jazz, made a living as a jazz musician for a while out of school. Jazz is beautiful, jazz is the best. And people, by and large, don’t care about it at all.

‘How do we make jazz vital once more?

‘How can we convince people to embrace music that is no longer part of the popular culture?

‘[Ellenberger] hits the nail on the head, I think, at least in terms of why modern audiences mostly don’t care about traditional jazz. Jazz music is no longer relevant to popular culture—music has simply evolved beyond it, and like any outdated musical style, it’s now the province of niche interest groups. (I realize this is an oversimplification, and that there are myriad other contributing factors to jazz’s decline.) That’s not to say that it is any less vital, lovely, exciting or fresh today than it was then—by its very nature, Jazz can never become stale or routine—but it does go a long way towards explaining why modern audiences are no longer particularly interested.

‘But you know what? Jazz’s constant evolution is precisely why ‘How can we make jazz vital once more?’ is in some ways the wrong question. As I see it, jazz has had no problem keeping itself vital—it’s just that it’s evolved beyond the musical paradigm we typically associate with ‘Jazz’.

‘But there is one thing that Ellenberger doesn’t really take into account in his piece……. That’s the fact that just as music has evolved, so too has jazz. He’s right that acoustic bebop on traditional jazz instruments will never again rope in big audiences or lead to huge album sales. But jazz itself has diversified beyond that until it’s essentially unrecognizable.

‘Today’s jazz musicians (and jazz-program graduates) are versed in so many different types of music, from straight-ahead bebop to electronic trance to pop to heavy metal, that labeling them ‘jazz musicians’ feels like a misnomer. Jazz may be the root of most modern musical training—it’s where rock, hip-hop and funk all came from, after all—but to pretend that musicians who can play all of that music must or should make a living playing jazz feels like a narrow viewpoint.

‘Most of the working musicians I know make a living not by playing jazz, but by bringing their jazz training to bear on other more current or popular styles. And those styles certainly attract enthusiastic, passionate listeners. A bassist friend of mine tours with a number of terrific acoustic groups playing baltic and bluegrass-influenced improvisational music while accompanying a singer. A drummer friend toured with a great blues band for several years, and before that was touring with a successful experimental jam band.

‘All of these guys and gals can play the pants off of a jazz standard, and the music they’re playing is demanding, harmonically complex and difficult, but with the exception of some of Spalding’s more straight-ahead stuff, it isn’t really ‘jazz,’ not by the standard definition.

‘… It is certainly more difficult than ever to make a living playing jazz; not that it was ever really easy. But to say that jazz music begins and ends at the traditional jazz ensemble is to ignore the many ways that the music has evolved, the many ways that players have evolved alongside it, and the ways that listeners have evolved as well.’

Hamilton’s observations have a bearing on my thoughts. 

Traditional Jazz at a Crossroads
But at this point I consider it essential I stress I’m for Traditional, New Orleans jazz, not the self indulgent modern jazz of the Jazz FM era*, which, frankly, I believe has much to answer for in the decreasing popularity of real jazz. Even in New Orleans, going way back, there has been a steady decline in traditional jazz to the degree that nowadays seemingly it is played there only by overseas bands, visiting mainly from Europe. As Philip Larkin pointed out in his capacity of jazz critic for the Daily Telegraph, people die off and the young blacks in New Orleans lost interest in “that music and no longer wanted to entertain the whites”. (All What Jazz, A Record Diary 1961 to 1971).

A very good band leader friend of mine often repeats the maxim “what goes around comes around” in high hopes of a traditional jazz revival.

But we simply have to realise that Traditional Jazz is at a crossroads. So many musicians have, to put it politely, already reached retirement age. Yet they continue to play great music. Old jazzers never die! I was speaking to another prominent band leader, fifty years in the business, just recently who expressed his disillusionment with the way things are going. The leader of yet another leading UK band told me, on the very day I began writing this, of his concern that before long there won’t be enough musicians to spread around the bands. Because that’s what’s happening. Musicians are getting gigs where they can and bands are calling on musicians to fill the gaps.

On top of that, fans too are an endangered species.

Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts

Keys for a Traditional Jazz Revival
Yet all need not be lost. The potential for a traditional jazz revival is already there to be seized upon if only the “oldies”, bands and fans alike, would lift their eyes above their parapets! The key is in emerging younger bands. Because there really are a number of up and coming younger bands out there making their mark in true New Orleans style.

Sky Murphy on trombone and Adrian Cox on sax with TJJohnson in The Crypt, St Martin in the Fields.

There are also numerous young musicians eager for opportunities to play traditional jazz. Some get invited to play with established bands and at festivals. Some strive to form their own bands – not easy these days. Some, sadly, are seeking work outside of the jazz scene because other types of music pay better. But their hearts are still firmly rooted in traditional jazz.

I’ll introduce the word “precious”! Why? Because bands, musicians and fans alike simply have to stop being quite so precious about the “purism” of the jazz they like. They have to stop being so inward looking at their own age group.

What do I mean by that? Well, I asked a top band leader recently if he had heard of a particular emerging younger jazz band and to my amazement he hadn’t.

And that spells out the problem. The divide. The dichotomy!

I could be wrong but I get the impression the “oldies” stick to and don’t look beyond their ever declining fan bases and circuits. Somehow they don’t think the younger bands follow the holy grail!

‘I have to mix it a bit!’
Meanwhile the younger bands are fighting to make their mark. I take every opportunity I can to cover them on Jazz&Jazz.com. I telephoned a fantastic younger saxophonist recently who assured me that his first love truly is New Orleans Traditional Jazz. Yet at the time he was writing hip hop music. “I have to mix it, Peter, if I’m to make a living from my music!”

Dom Pipkin.

The “emerging” band I mentioned above is London based Dom Pipkin & The Ikos. Dom runs regular New Orleans Workshops and Jam Sessions at The Alleycat in Denmark Street and he recently staged a very successful Mardi Gras event in Hackney. Younger musicians who attract younger fans, and yes, I mean young fans! They mix it a bit but trad jazz always predominates. Dom recently appeared on Later with Jools [and more recently on Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Superstar] as piano accompanist to up and coming songstress Pamola Faith. That way he makes decent money to help support his passion for real jazz.

At present these younger bands are following their own “routes to market”. Somehow there has to be a meeting of minds. A coming together of older and younger generation bands. Only then will “what goes around come around” as the older bands interact with younger bands to reinvigorate traditional jazz until it flourishes again.

‘I want to play jazz like that!’
And the fans? If older fans want to encourage younger fans, they must learn not to be so precious about what they consider to be good jazz. I’ll throw out just one example. An elderly fan recently cornered me to voice his criticism of a particular very impressive trombonist for being too flamboyant, “not subtle enough, not smooth enough.” At that very same gig I heard a youngster asking his mother if she could she buy him a trombone because “I want to play jazz like that!” This speaks a thousand words! Because jazz isn’t inert, it’s exuberant, dynamic as well as soulful.

Is any of this so revolutionary? Surely not. Has it not ever been so in all forms of music? Older stars giving way to younger stars, who, while staying basically true to the inherent traditions of their chosen music, “stretch it” a bit for their fan bases as older fans give way to younger fans.

After all, hasn’t jazz improvisation – the ‘Expression of Freedom’ – in itself always been stretching and mixing it? Louis Armstrong perfected the improvised jazz solo and before that Dixieland first featured collective improvisation within their musical arrangements.

I recently heard a fantastic young jazz pianist launch into a classical piece and then skilfully blend it right back into a trad jazz favourite. In preparing for this analysis I also discussed it with one of the UK’s favourite traditional jazzmen who makes a point of “mixing it” by starring with older, established bands and younger emerging bands. An essential example of how there simply has to be a meeting of minds so that Traditional New Orleans jazz not only survives but flourishes.

I plan to feature emerging Traditional Jazz musicians and bands on my website, jazzandjazz.com, and to share this with Just Jazz magazine, perhaps with a follow up article. So I’m sure Pete Lay would join me in welcoming input from band leaders, musicians and Just Jazz readers alike.

Earlier on this website under “Is this the way to go?” Attracting ‘young blood’ to join our Jazz Clubs, I featured Ken Butler’s highly relevant article in the March issue of Just Jazz about attracting ‘young blood’ into Traditional jazz clubs.

So let’s set about implementing the keys to a Traditional Jazz revival!

Modern Jazz*

I want to qualify my position on Modern Jazz. I’m not referring to it in any of my references to “stretching it” and “mixing it” as you will see from the context. Nor am I against modern jazz per se. In its earlier stages some works were stunning. But latterly in my opinion Modern Jazz, chiefly of the Jazz FM variety, has become self indulgent, inward looking, repetitive and tedious. It’s that type of Modern Jazz that has much to answer for in turning people away from Traditional Jazz. I discussed this in my letter in the June, 2012, issue of Just Jazz.

(Photos © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)

Acrylic Jazz Portrait of Amy Roberts on Saxophone

Amy Roberts (Jazz&Jazz Portrait)

Amy Roberts (Jazz&Jazz Portrait)

Amy Roberts is an incredibly talented young lady and as a rising star she quickly  made her mark on the jazz world.

I first met Amy at the 2008 Ken Colyer Autumn Jazz Parade in Hemsby, Norfolk, where Sammy Rimington invited her to join him in a saxophone duet. Afterwards I overheard Sammy saying: “Amy’s got a natural talent and feel for the music. She’s got rhythm. She’s got swing. She’s the future of jazz.”

When she starred again at Hemsby in 2010, I simply had to paint this jazz portrait of her in acrylics as well as a portrait of her in duet with Adrian Cox, also displayed in Jazz Art & Film.

Voted winner of the British Jazz Awards Rising Star Category in 2009, Amy also placed second in the 2010 awards. Just into her 20s, she joined the Big Chris Barber Band early in 2011 and has since gone on to co-form the Amy Roberts Richard Exall Quintet which was presented with the  “Harry Cameron Trophy” for Best Band of the Year in 2013/2104.

As an ardent jazz fan said to me not so long ago at the 100 Club, “Who said jazz musicians are all oldies!” But jazz oldies by far outnumber the youngsters and if New Orleans style jazz is to make that long awaited comeback we need to applaud it’s rising stars.

Fine Art Print of Jazz Portrait of Amy Roberts

Amy’s Got Rhythm

 Hail a new generation,
With rhythmic syncopation,
Sax in crescendo,
As cadences flow
From the star of the show.

Amy Roberts steals the show at the 2010 Autumn Jazz Parade in Hemsby, Norfolk. When she was just 19, Sammy Rimington said of Amy,
“She’s got rhythm, she’s got swing. She’s the future of jazz!”

Art & Verse’ Copyright © 2011 Peter M Butler. All rights reserved

Fine Art Giclée Prints of this portrait are available, with or without my descriptive poem. Simply email: [email protected] to place your order and help support jazz.


Sammy Rimington’s International Band

Sammy Rimington Jnr shoulder to shoulder with his famous father in a concert with his New Orleans All Star Band at Chilham, Kent, on 6 February, 2010. (Photo by P.M.Butler, Art&Verse)

Back in 1959 Sammy Rimington played with Barry Martyn’s band. His spectacular jazz career as a professional musician with Ken Colyer’s band started in 1960. In those years my lifelong friend Roger followed his gigs in Kent so when Sammy was booked to appear with his International Jazz Band at the 2008 Ken Colyer Trust Hemsby Autumn Jazz Festival in Norfolk, it didn’t take much persuading for me to join Roger at the festival.

Since then I’ve made a point of keeping up with Sammy, who now lives in Sweden, and his International Jazz Band during their UK winter tours. His concerts of Hymns and Spirituals in the New Orleans Style at Folkestone’s United Reformed Church have been nothing short of inspirational and his Trad Jazz gigs at Chilham Village Hall always pack in the fans.

Trefor Williams on bass, Eric Webster on banjo, Emile van Pelt on piano, Frederic John on trombone and Keith Minter on drums are all jazz virtuosos in their own right but to quote The New York Times: “Sammy Rimington’s playing demonstrates the clarinet’s matchless range of funky virtuosity, which makes jazz’s past as real as its future.”

And indeed, Sammy is every bit as dedicated to the future of jazz as he is to continually surpassing his own brilliance. I witnessed this for myself at the 2008 Hemsby Festival when he invited emerging star Amy Roberts, then barely 19, onto the stage to accompany him in a saxophone duet. The next morning I overheard him stressing the need to to persuade Amy to stay with jazz: “Amy’s got a natural talent and feel for the music. She’s got rhythm. She’s the future of jazz.”

Some accolade from a legend of jazz who has performed with Louis Nelson, Big Jim Robinson, Chris Barber, Kid Thomas Valentine and Captain John Handy.

I count it a privilege to have painted a portrait of Sammy in duet with Amy and indeed, portraits of each member of the International Jazz Band. Trefor Williams paid me a huge compliment:

“What a pleasant surprise to receive your portrait of me. I’m very flattered that you considered me a worthy subject. Thank you for devoting your time and talent. It’s a very thoughtful study and the words are very touching. May God continue to bless you and your very special gift”

Sammy Rimington’s website is at: http://www.sammyrimington.com

You can listen to Sammy and explore some of his music at: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x20zvy_burgundy-street-blues-sammy-rimingt_music

"Eyes on the Master" - portrait of Sammy in duet with rising star Amy Roberts.

Hand signed, fine art prints of the Art & Verse jazz portrait of Amy and Sammy can be purchased in two sizes:

A4 (297x210mm) £29.00
A3 (420x297mm) £39.00

A Certificate of Authenticity is issued with each print. If you would like to purchase a print or an original acrylic portrait or to commission a portrait, please email me at: [email protected]

Jazz ART Gallery

Welcome to my Jazz ART Gallery. Below you will find an alphabetical list of all of my current jazz portraits and prints. Each painting is hyperlinked to a Special Feature about the musicians and bands appearing on this website.

The Feature article highlights the key facts about each musician at the time the portrait was painted. It also displays the painting, the Fine Art Giclée print and the verse. And it gives the reason why I chose to paint this particular musician or band and the inspiration behind the painting, as well as where and when the picture was first conceived.

For every portrait, I penned a poem putting into verse or prose the emotions I felt at the time. The only way to capture the emotive feelings of being in the presence of our truly wonderful musicians was to illustrate visually in vivid colour, through the medium of my choice and the strokes of my brush, the emotions that I felt in a split second of time. To then put those feelings into words, I chose to write a verse. The two are inseparable, Art and Verse, but how can they be displayed together? The solution – creating Fine Art Giclée prints was the way I chose to bring these moments to life for you to enjoy.

I hope you will take the time to explore my Jazz ART as you troll through my website. And if you also like landscapes and seascapes, then I must introduce you to Art&Verse where there are over 100 paintings, each with their own poem that I produced over 30 years ago.

If you would like to purchase any of my works – prints and/or original paintings or would like to know more about them and what I do, please email me at [email protected], I look forward to hearing from you.


A selection of my Jazz ART signed A4 and A3 Fine Art Giclée Prints, digital prints and original paintings are FOR SALE. They come with a special Certificate of Authenticity. To purchase any prints and/or paintings, please contact Peter Butler at [email protected] and I’ll reply by return.

I am in the process of putting my own Jazz ART online store on Etsy and will add a hyperlink to their site as soon as the store goes live. Thank you for taking time to visit my website and my Jazz ART Gallery.

Adrian Cox
Double Take

Amy Roberts & Adrian Cox
“Reeds in Duet”

Amy Roberts on Saxophone
“Amy’s Got Rhythm”

Annie Hawkins
“Annie on Bass

Barry Martyn
“Barry Martyn at The 100 Club”

Betty Renz
“Betty Renz Steels the Show”

Big Bill Bissonnette
“Alias B3”

Bob Thomas
“Bob Thomas of Thomcat Fame”

Brian Smith
Washboard Rhythm King”

Burt Butler
“Burt on Banjo”

Chris Marchant
“Sublime on Drums!”

Chris Tyle on Cornet
Head Honcho with Style

Christine Woodcock on Trombone
“Mysterious Lady”

Cuff Billet
“Cuff Billet on Trumpet”

Dave Arnold on Drums
“The Clash of the Cymbals, The Beat of the Drums”

Dave Bartholomew at The Palm Court,
New Orleans
“Let the Good Times Roll!”

Dave Rance’s Rockin’ Chair Band
“Let it Rip, Dave!”

Dom Pipkin
“Dom Pipkin Pumps Piano”

Dr Michael White

Emile Martyn 
“Emile on Drums”

Emile Van Pelt and Eric Webster
“Honky Tonk Time”

Esther O’Connor
“Esther Enthralls Her Fans”

Frederic John
“Frederic John on Trombone”

Jim Hurd & John Whitehead
“Frog Islanders!”

Gerry Birch on Sousaphone
“Jazz at The George”

Gordon Lawrence

Grand Marshall Jimbo Heads the Parade
“Good Time Jazz”

Gregg Stafford
“He Der Man!”

Hugh Masekela
“The Coal Train”

Ivan Gandon on Saxophone
“A Very Mean Sax”

John Pickett on Trumpet
“Plays Trumpet for Recreation”

Johnny Rodgers on Saxophone
“Passion Personified”

Joshua & Sandra Walker
“Neighbours Well Met”

Katja Toivola on trombone at Donna’s Bar, New Orleans

Keith Minter
Measured Beat and Rolling Peal

Laurie Fray on Clarinet
“The Pinnacle of Passion”

Laurie Palmer on Drums
“Drums on the Prom”

Leroy Jones at Donnas Bar 2010
“Keeper of the Flame”

Lionel Ferbos, Louisiana Jazz Legend
“Long live Jazz, Long live Lionel Ferbos”

Mike Pointon on Trombone
The Trombonist

Pete Lay
“Pete Lay on Drums”

Pete Smith on Sousaphone
“Come Join the Parade”

Ray Colyer on Trumpet
“Take it away, Ray”

Roger Nicholls & Pat Elms
“A Strummin’ and a Drummin’”

Sam Weller & Mark Alexander of Vocalion
“Trombone and Drums”

Sammy Rimington on Clarinet
“The Clarinetist”

Sammy Rimington
Take Two Sammys

Sammy Rimington & Amy Roberts Saxophone Duet
Eyes on the Master

The Fallen Heroes – Tony Rico, Paul Bonner & Ben Martyn
“Sax, Trumpet and Bass”

Tim Curtis on Sousaphone
“Tim on Tuba”

Tony Cunningham on Trombone
“Tony Cunningham Trombonist”

Tony O’Sullivan on Trumpet
“Spotlight on the Trumpet”

Trefor Williams on Double Bass
“Double Bass Ace”

Continuing the Debate: KEEPING JAZZ ALIVE



Early in October I posted three features on Jazz&Jazz:

Keeping Jazz Alive:
Part 1: “Our audience is dying and there is little we can do!”
Part 2: Sammy Rimington: “In The Upper Garden”
Part 3: Outstanding London Debut For Young Catalonian Jazz Star Andrea Motis

Following that, I opened the features up to debate on Facebook. Ian Bateman commented “We seem to have two threads running”. The reason is I opened the debates on my personal Facebook Page and on my closed Facebook Jazzers Group to be sure to reach all my followers.

Incredibly, in just two weeks since launching the debate I have received over 80 responses and still counting! But I feel it’s time to share all the comments on Jazz&Jazz to see if we can reach reasonable conclusions.

But first, I want to begin with two comments which I consider give a very telling overview on which conclusions could be based.

From Ian Brameld:

“There seems to be two diverging scenes. 1) Keeping the old jazz clubs going for the declining numbers of ageing members and musicians; 2) A revival of the jazz of the early to mid 1900s played by young, trained musicians in their own style and for their contemporaries. It would be nice if they could overlap but Amy Roberts has hit the nail on the head. The old and the young don’t necessarily mix well.”

From Graham Hughes:

Hi Peter,

In reply to your article saying “jazz is dying” I’d like to mention that Jazz is definitely not dying. In London alone there are dozens of really fabulous musicians and bands that have appeared in the last few years.

The thing that is dying is the Traditional Jazz Club.

Many Traditional Jazz Clubs need to look at themselves to see why they are dying. There are a few thriving clubs:

  • these tend to be monthly
  • they tend to welcome a broad spectrum of people who love to be entertained
  • they book bands that are really class acts
  • the bands each month tend to be a little bit different to provide variety
  • the venue is appropriate for a performance
  • they tend to start earlier (7:30 or 8.00) and finish earlier (10.00 or 10:30)
  • An audience needs to go home wanting more. They shouldn’t be tired, having heard too much music and wanting to go to bed.
  • The promoter needs to be really positive, smiling and welcoming to all of their customers, and to the musicians too.

The list goes on.

Best wishes

Graham Hughes


So here are the comments in full. The fun will come in summing up your conclusions once you’ve read them all – conclusions, ways forward, solid recommendations, not just further comments! You can post these in the Speak Your Mind section at the foot of this post or on my Facebook Page or, if you are a member, my Facebook Jazzers  Group.


Peter Mark Butler


The audience isn’t dying and much is being done about it! The number of youngsters enjoying jazz is growing – in their own venues with younger new age jazz bands.


James Evans I’m sure people used to hang out with their elders much more. I did, and do. It’s such a gift.

Doug Potter Wrong ! plenty of youngsters listening and playing around East Anglia, very good ones too ·

Peter Mark Butler Tell me about them, Doug!

Doug Potter Well Simon Hurley for an example, wonderful Jazz Guitarist, and the company he keeps.

Doug Potter And some of the gigs John Petters organizes has the kids dancing like crazy, I was at the Brubeck sons at Ronnie Scotts gig and spoke to a lot of under 25s that were knocked out by it, not all is lost mate

Doug Potter Oh and look up Digby’s comments, he is very encouraged by the current trend towards Jazz at the moment,and he should know eh ?

Clare Gray Plenty of our lot dancing last weekend to a trio called the Bevin Boys – really good band of chaps in late twenties/thirties I would guess. Floor was full! I still say jazz has a much better chance of making it through if it creates as many links as possible with the dancing and vintage vibes going on right now. Didn’t make Twinwoods this year, but you only have to go to that to see that ‘retro’ music (whatever that means!) is by no means dead! Vive le jazz!

Amy Roberts I must admit that as a “young person” I wouldn’t go to jazz clubs…. it would have to be presented in places where only young people are, eg student union bars. Otherwise it would be like having a night out with the grandparents. Start with having good, exciting young bands performing at 6th form colleges and music conservatoires and see what happens. Encouraging oldies to bring young people to normal jazz clubs is just going to kill the music even more…

Ian Brameld You are so right Amy. Nothing to add to your insightful analysis.

Ian Bateman We seem to have two threads running LOL

Jeff Lewis Absolutely Amy. We do that all the time with Speakeasy Bootleg Band with the result that we’ve got a huge young following.

Alice Sibley I truly believe Jazz will never die

Ian Brameld There seems to be two diverging scenes. 1) Keeping the old jazz clubs going for the declining numbers of ageing members, (and musicians) 2) A revival of the jazz of the early to mid 1900s played by young, trained musicians in their own style and for their contemporaries. It would be nice if they could overlap but Amy Roberts has hit the nail on the head. The old and the young don’t necessarily mix well. Where do people in their 40s and 50s go?

Andrew Bowie At the Tram Depot every Sunday 8.30 in Cambridge we have an audience from 18 to 80 most weeks, playing modern mainstream jazz from Ellington to Coltrane. There are also loads of young musicians coming up playing this stuff who are quite outstanding. Crowd goes up and down, but is always enough to make it worth it for the pub, which is an ideal venue, where you can listen directly or chat on the sidelines.

Ian Bateman We have a similar place in Swindon, Andrew. ‘Baker Street’, in Wood Street, Old Town. People of all ages. Not much trad but the one time they did, it had the biggest audience ever (guess who). It’s free admission and generally trios and quartets but sometimes they push the boat out. The punters moan if it gets too modern (it’s free!!!! ffs), but their policy of mixing it works, it’s different every week. I’ve seen some amazing groups there that I would otherwise never have seen.

Ian Brameld Looking at the images, The Tram Depot and Baker Street looks like great pub environments with space, and they haven’t filled it with pool tables and Sky Sports giant screens. Such venues, central to a town and with handy parking are a bit thin on the ground in some towns. Finding a decent venue is part of the solution.

Jeff Matthews I can’t help thinking that this conversation always splits into ‘old and young’. It’s almost as though the opinion has been the young must play and listen to jazz, and in particular, traditional jazz, in order for it to continue. We forget that nobody stays ‘young forever. The audiences we have now were youngsters once as were the musicians. They have every right to the music. Sometimes they have rediscovered it later in life. That will happen again. In the meantime the answer is: supportive venues, well presented jazz, no ageism, but plenty of considered and well laid out marketing and promotion. Lets talk about business like promotion, not the death of jazz. The music is bigger than any of us. Just my opinion.

Paul Bacon 30 year old clarinet player, piano player and singer and loves traditional jazz was told by her local jazz band that plays in pub (all over 65) “we do not allow sitters in” anyway she is going to try and start her own band. Jazz will not die away.

Jeff Matthews Hi Paul. Strangely, I was asked yesterday by a very experienced ‘older’ player if he could come to my bands gig last night and ‘sit in’. We always try and incorporate fellow musicians and singers but, as this is a paid entrance gig, I exercise tighter control on sit ins nowadays. Sometimes allowing even experienced musicians play one or two tunes can upset the bands balance and throw a ‘programme’ up in the air. Sometimes it has worked, but often it has just confused things and can make an audience unsettled. The young lady has chosen the right course. Talk to experienced people like yourself and then form her own band. You know all of this, I know. But it isn’t an age issue. When I tried to get help to play some years ago I received very little help and encouragement. So, I started my own band! I did the background research, including the history of the music and even took a trip to New Orleans. At whatever age or experience a player is at, it is always possible to find a way to play this music. Incidentally, I am still looking for help and ‘mentorship’ from more experienced players than I am. Always trying to learn more and improve.

Penny Vingoe And I want to comment as a result of Jeff Matthews remarks that starting your own band is not easy – it takes perseverance. I have been following Jeff Matthews band for five years, since its inception – he got numbers in the teens when he started, he has had to move from venue to venue, and has subsidised the band payment constantly, getting nothing for himself. It is only now that his band is the most successful in the area getting an audience of up to 60 people – quite an achievement in a part of the country that has less population than anywhere in the UK. So do start your own band and because of your love of jazz stay with it and run the band as well as play your music as a professional.




Peter Mark Butler


The audience isn’t dying and much is being done about it! The number of youngsters enjoying jazz is growing – in their own venues with younger new age jazz bands.


Jim Lodge If jazz is targeted solely at an audience that discovered earlier jazz forms in the 1950s and 60s, of course it will die – we are now pensioners, and cannot survive forever. There are plenty of newer bands who refuse to abide by “trad rules”. Many of these rules (no saxophones, compulsory banjo, and for goodness sake be serious) have little appeal to younger musicians or audiences, and if older audiences do not make allowances and embrace newer thinking there will be a schism that terminates their preferred musical museum.

Paul Marks In my experience there are dozens of teenagers and twenty somethings loving jazz and having great nights out listening to the bands I play with. The difference is that we take our jazz to their venues. It’s naive and pompous to expect such an audience to come to some manky old working mans club. It’s more a case of these types of venues dying out rather than a new generation not enjoying jazz.

Jeff Lewis Visit ANY Speakeasy Bootleg-Band gig. ……. We do our best to scare them off, but they just won’t go…………

Gary Lawrence Murphy [Canada]: when the City of Owen Sound needs a band for a special all-ages event, they don’t call the Death Metal kids, they call us. If they have an event that is just for the Baby Boomers, they will hire the Led-Zepplin style or Eagles-style rock bands for the evening show, but if they expect all ages, they call us.

And therein is a clue: we find at our shows, and whether that is in OKOM or in the trad country circles or trad folk or folk-dance events, anything that has an actual tradition and *culture* to it, there is a whole generation seemingly snipped out of the audience like they didn’t exist, roughly the ages 40-60, vastly under-represented *unless* the program is American late-sixties to early-80’s top ten pop. Something awful happened to that group that completely sours them on anything not shrinkwrapped.

Which is not to say there aren’t Middle Boomers who appreciate traditions, there are many, whole festivals are run by people my age (I’m 57) but even they recognise that we are a minority.

So this is my theory: the waning of the elder audience is the pre-Beatles kids simply fading away, and the venues being unprepared for and unconnected to the new fans currently in their 30’s and below, the young families, the young lovers just starting out, the kids with oodles of energy who don’t want a sweeping foxtrot, they want a real lindy hop, the dangerous kind that used to get signs put up prohibiting it.

James Evans Traditional jazz seems to have an incredible durability. It was always unlikely that you people would start flooding the long standing jazz clubs (perhaps ageism all around, or at lest very different ideas of a night out), but once the scene in central London died, a new unconnected one driven by 20 somethings has begun to flourish. They learn from the Internet, and quickly see that a style that has melody, rhythm and improvisation is too good to die. You can make up stuff, and create your own individual approach. Great. A living tradition, changing but timeless. Similar things are happening in many countries, and very much in New Orleans. However, perhaps fear has caused the music to become stale at times, and that has hurt the older scene, and prevented the two scenes connecting better. Narrow mindedness of an extreme kind has hit some fans and musicians. Ideas like “jazz band shouldn’t have saxophones” still abound (where to start with that one! Just about every band in the 20s and every other revivalist band in New Orleans). Lies that were propagated during to regrettable Trad vs Modern wars. Interestingly a few of the new crop suffer from this sort of joyless narrowness. Music to scream with joy too. That’s my bag.

Gary Lawrence Murphy I would only add that any ‘living’ tradition can only be alive if the new generation seeks out and learns from the old, and I’m am honoured that so many of the local players from the great dance-hall days and before in our neighbourhood have taken a shine to my boys and many of my touring professional player friends, themselves entrenched in the tradition, have taken the time to encourage them as well.

Owen Sound was at one time a great hub of jazz music in Canada, boasting the largest dance hall in the country and had seen the likes of Ellington and Armstrong pass through, often sidemen from those bands, having seen our fishing, boating and affordable lifestyle, later retired here (including a director of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, who settled near Chesley Lake and taught a generation of players).

Internet is great for access to the recordings of the great masters, and these days *every* recording seems to be online somewhere for the asking, but it is also important to connect to the players of the tradition, of your local tradition, and this is what I see here and in Toronto, the young players are more than eager to find these elders and beg them for lessons.

Paul Bacon Our audiences are growing –  always a good turn out. Bell and Bucket today standing room only unless you are an early bird!

Brian Carrick I have found that with my Algiers Stomper’s that there is no lack of interest in our  New Orleans / Louisiana music. Its so refreshing to find Audiences giving standing ovations to All The Musicians after a concert. But there again I think the secret is not just playing the old numbers time and time again. There’s nothing wrong in the old numbers but to attract younger and new audiences as well as retain the regular jazz followers variety must be the name of the game and adapt tunes to fit into New Orleans Style. Come and catch the next sessions with THE ALGIERS STOMPERS 16th October at the Swan Chaddesley Corbett and/or Doveholes Jazzclub Saturday 18th AND BRING SOMEONE YOUNGER WITH YOU.

Jill Pepper I certainly don’t profess to be any kind of expert on the subject, and I’m sure Mike Owen will correct me if I’m wrong (he usually does ) but wasn’t the early New Orleans jazz, as played in the dance halls, just the pop music of the day played in a certain style? I have yet to see a youngster – if exposed to this music – that didn’t thoroughly enjoy it! And like Brian, I can’t see why the old standards can’t be played alongside music from any other decade – just keep the style the same.

Peter Curtis If only! Our audiences are doing the same!

Jill Pepper https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhpCXXV7ggQ

L.O.V.E. Joan Chamorro quintet & Andrea Motis

Jill Pepper Seems alive and kicking to me!

Gary Lawrence Murphy Jill is right, in the early early days the music was a mix of new compositions (eg Mr Jelly Roll) and traditional tunes with a liberal mixing in of Sousa marches, ancient folk melodies from many ethnicities, and yet it gelled into a standard vocabulary such that, when Louis Armstrong began using what we today would call “Standards”, it was a shock, no less of a shock than it is today when The Bad Plus play Darius Milhaud or Nirvana in their own style.

It has always been important to meet the audience where *they* are, and only *then* elevate them to where they can see what you see.

Back in the 1970’s I had the great opportunity to meet and interview Oscar Peterson; I was given complimentary tickets to the show and invited my then-girlfriend who was not deeply a jazz fan, although she enjoyed Glenn Miller. During the first half of the show she was visibly bored, bored until Oscar pulled out a popular tune of the day, Billy Joel‘s “Just The Way You Are” — my companion was suddenly transfixed, and remained so for the rest of the show; backstage later at the interview, she was bubbling with great questions (on which Mr Peterson was eminently charming and informative).

What had happened was an anchoring; up until he’d played a tune she *knew*, she hadn’t a clue what was going on, it was just noise. But given something to hang on to, suddenly the genius of it was very clear. This is probably why we still play Bill Bailey 112 years later even though it is patently obvious that old Bill is very likely not coming home. We play it because *everybody* knows that tune.

The only real qualms I have over reframing modern material is my basic fear of copyright police. If the big labels would just halt the witch hunts, there is a rich treasure trove of material from the past 50 years that could really connect people together if it could be used affordably. Unfortunately even something as innocent as a single Rodgers and Hammerstein tune can render your CD project unprofitable.

Peter Mark Butler Graham Hughes has emailed me with these very vital comments:

Hi Peter,

In reply to your article saying “jazz is dying” I’d like to mention that Jazz is definitely not dying. In London alone there are dozens of really fabulous musicians and bands that have appeared in the last few years.

The thing that is dying is the Traditional Jazz Club. Many Traditional Jazz Clubs need to look at themselves to see why they are dying. There are a few thriving clubs:

– these tend to be monthly
– they tend to welcome a broad spectrum of people who love to be entertained
– they book bands that are really class acts
– the bands each month tend to be a little bit different to provide variety
– the venue is appropriate for a performance
– they tend to start earlier (7:30 or 8.00) and finish earlier (10.00 or 10:30)

An audience needs to go home wanting more. They shouldn’t be tired, having heard too much music and wanting to go to bed. The promoter needs to be really positive, smiling and welcoming to all of their customers, and to the musicians too. The list goes on.

If a club gets it right they’ll find people want to come – not just jazz fans, but anybody that wants a great night out.

Best wishes,

Graham Hughes

Peter Mark Butler Alan Haughton runs just such a club in Olney, rural Buckinghamshire. I was there last night for Ben Holder Master Fiddler Special. YouTubes on the way! www.olneyjazzclub.com

Alan Haughton Wow! Graham Hughes you are so right….my feelings exactly!

Tad Newton Could not agree more Graham. Always try to follow your points both on stage and off whilst running THREE jazz venues! Win some lose some I suppose.

Peter Mark Butler Just received an email from Norman Gibson, worth quoting here: “Just read Graham Hughes’ comments and agree with every word !! I have moved in the directions he advocates, since seeing ‘Caravan Palace’ at the Django Reinhart festival in France several years ago. The young musicians emerging are putting together bands that deserve to be seen and heard, and they are pushing themselves forward accompanied by a growing number of swing dancers. They are the ones changing the jazz scene in the UK ! Some time ago Pete Lay referred to us elderly promoters as ‘the old farts’, but old farts or not, we should use our expertise to show our audiences we can identify and present them with variants of ‘their’ jazz that they will enjoy !!”

Alan Bateman Ian Bateman told me of a group of youngsters who came into a jazz club gig he was on. They were shooed out by the regulars?

Jill Pepper Were they misbehaving?

Ian Bateman No, they looked in and sat at the back. They were skinheads I believe but they were genuinely enjoying the music and behaving.

Pete Neighbour As many of you know, I’m now based in the US although return frequently to the UK for gigs and family. Firstly, I’m not sure whether it’s a ‘comfort’ or not, but the situation is exactly the same here; and, for that matter, anywhere else I’ve been in the world. Audiences *tend* to be older for more traditional types of jazz. That said, in my experience, the problem is invariably in the promotion/billing of an event. There is no doubt about the fact that the word ‘jazz’ can mean a myriad of styles: Banjos & brass bass, Kenny G, Glenn Miller, ‘free’ jazz. Putting the word ‘traditional’ in front of the word ‘jazz’ barely helps as this tends to then conjure up the ‘banjo & brass bass’ sound – which, as we all know, *can* be the traditional sound (good or bad depending on the quality) but is not necessarily the sound of traditional jazz. Unfortunately, the word ‘mainstream’ seems to mean as many different things to as many people so that’s a non-starter! Most of my work now is doing a show as a guest entertainer on cruise ships. My act is loosely pegged around the swing era and Benny Goodman – although not exclusively. I’ve found that the best way to bill the show is to refer – repeatedly – to ‘swing’ ‘the 1930/40’s’, ‘swing era music’, ‘music from the great American Songbook’ etc etc. in short, use the word ‘jazz’ as little as possible. In my own experience, time and time again, I’ve found that young(er) people are often reluctant to come into a room/venue concert if the word ‘jazz’ is used. If, however, I can get them in the room – or promoters can – I am fairly confident I can keep them there. I think Ian Bateman may have got this sussed by using his band to do a ‘Salute’ or ‘tribute’ to Louis Armstrong. (Forgive me Ian if you shy away from either of those words – I understand completely…) but, the bottom line is, using the name Louis Armstrong will attract a bigger crowd than using the term a ‘jazz concert celebrating a great trumpeter’! So……promoters and club owners….over to you!! Sorry……this went on longer than I’d intended – no gig today obviously!

Ian Bateman Just sifting through the adverts … Graham has got it right. If you want your club to thrive, follow his advice. I would add that you should put on decent bands and make your club look like a jazz club. Go to Ronnie Scott’s and see how it’s done. You’ll never beat it but you’ll leave full of inspiration. Put jazz stuff on the walls, get some lighting sorted and tell the bar staff not to make any noise!

Jeff Lewis I’ve seen it happen Alan…….. anyone young or different frozen out…….. even worse, any young musicians patronised, demoralised and driven off to play something else. Fortunately it seems to be dying out in my neck of the woods.

Jeff Lewis Dead right Pete.

Ian Bateman You’re right PN. Our agent won’t let us put the word Jazz on our posters! I don’t mind calling it a tribute or a salute at all because that is just what it is – and properly done IMHO. We all do other gigs with other bands, so we can still stay true and stretch out.

Ian Bateman The standard of the trad bands in the boom years of the 50’s & 60’s was exceptionally high. Those bands swung like the clappers and some of those musicians are irreplaceable. When the boom ended, traditional jazz never again reached those standards. Now that Messrs Ball, Bilk and Lightfoot have left the stage, we’re left with jazz clubs and a few decent festivals. Putting trad on in a theatre is a very risky business and not many will do it now I fear. I’d like to see jazz clubs provide an experience and (at the risk of me losing work) they should sometimes book younger bands who bring new punters and actually give a s**t about the standard of their music. It is indeed a turning point in British trad jazz at the moment – very thought provoking.

Alan Bateman I remember many years ago being lambasted by a member of the audience for daring to turn up to play with a trumpet instead of a cornet. When I explained that I have never owned a cornet he said “well there’s nothing we can do about it tonight is there!” and went back to his seat. I took it on the chin and did my usual thing. Twenty years later, I still don’t own a cornet.

Louis Lince I’m 72 and probably a boring old fart. However, tonight’s gig was at a local church and the audience was from 10 years old to 80+. They all enjoyed it and the youngsters talked to us in the break and afterwards. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow evening’s gig is a double bill of Barber shop quartets and the band. Looking forward to it.

Ian Brameld So much truth in all the comments above. I gave up the fight at the end of August.

Pete Neighbour I know many boring old farts Louis Lince…even younger than you!!

Ian Bateman I’m still considered a young fart. Still, something positive I guess!

James Evans I think ‘traditional’ is a confusing term anyway and may have caused problems. All jazz is part of a tradition. However not all jazz is a loving gift to the audience. Maybe that’s where the distinction should be made.

John Petters Let’s face it, the word ‘jazz’ is the kiss of death. The reason being that nobody agrees with what it means anymore. I always describe my events as traditional (as opposed to trad) and/or swing events. When I was primarily doing theatre shows, I used “Swinging Down Memory Lane”, “This Joint Is Jumpin;”, “‘S Wonderful”,” Hoagy – The Old Music Master”, Swing – A Centenary Tribute to Gene Krupa & Benny Goodman”. When I used “Jazz” in the title it was adequately described as in “Boogie Woogie & All That Jazz”. My current festivals carry the titles, “The Louis Armstrong Celebration Jazz Festival” and “William Shakespeare Jazz’n’Swing Festival (The Bard’s Bash). The titles, together with the programming describe what the punters are going to get. I never put on stuff that is outside the genre of Ragtime – Swing. First of all, I have little interest in later forms of jazz and secondly most punters do not go for the be-bop and beyond styles. I play few jazz clubs. As a rule, young folk will not go where old folk go. My festivals tend to attract an over 60s age group. No problem with that. as long as they are happy to come, I’ll play for them. Age and illness is affecting the audience and putting young musicians on the bill does not bring in a younger audience. When I play specifically dance gigs, either with the Gatsby band or my Swing band, the punters are there to dance and not to listen. These gigs require plenty of energy and a driving rhythm – which all the old style American bands had but so few British bands had or have today. Many rhythm sections are tired and turgid. Many mainstreamers became too polite, rhythmically. The original audience is dying as Mart Rodger said – but I’m not prepared to hang up my sticks yet.

Paul Bacon Jazz might be kiss of death for some, may be many tributes takes them away from The Real Thing >JAZZ with life and freedom rather than repetetive……… call it what you like, name dropping stuff that yes is very clever and popular but misses the point of jazz as it should/can be which we find very popular Try a tribute to Kid Shots or just try to pick up the freedom he demonstrated.

Jim Lodge “Tributes”? Sorry, they are anathema to me. “Tribute bands” are killing live popular music. Such concepts can never compete with the original – at best they can only come second, and often end up with something that tends to sterility. For me Jazz depends on musicians projecting themselves, and trying to discover ther own musical personality through constant striving in performance. Of course we cannot all be great originals, but those who produce a personal take on our music are those who best succeed at projecting the spirit of Jazz.

Pete Neighbour I know I’ll make myself unpopular with some….but the ‘tribute’ angle is hardly new. In my own Duke recorded Basie’s material & Basie Ellington’s. Buddy de F did wonderful Benny/Artie albums in the 1950’s & Eddie Daniels did likewise in the 1990’s. It’s HOW you approach it. Not the principle of doing it. It’s also important for many professional musicians – who have no other source of income – to constantly have to think of ways to be commercially successful without sacrificing their artistic integrity. Often, a ‘tribute’ type show works very well.

Ian Bateman It certainly does Pete.

Alan Bateman The New York Philharmonic is a tribute band?

Ian Bateman Let’s face it, most of the jazz public (the older side of the divide) want replication. I often think wouldn’t it be a great idea to write 20 new original songs and play them with my band Louis style. I wouldn’t make any money from it.

Jim Lodge I don’t regard playing material associated with other bands or musicians as “tribute”. The term “tribute” is to do with style in my book, and refers to the musical replication of a musician or band’s persona.

Kay Leppard I am ‘the older side of the divide’ and I hate tribute bands. I much prefer to hear numbers, old or new, played by musicians, old or young, in their own style. I’m dreading the day Chris Barber and Acker Bilk die for that reason alone.

Ian Bateman It’s started already Kay.




If you have the stomach for delving further into the issues of “Keeping Jazz Alive”, back in March, 2013, I ran a series of debates on Jazz&Jazz entitled: “Jazz is Dead! Long Live Jazz! The Jazzers’ Debates … From the Mouths of Jazzers!” 

I would like to share these again now, especially as back then my Facebook Jazzers Group had not long been launched and had fewer than 250 members. It is a closed group and can only be joined by recommendation of other members or by invite from myself. Currently it is fast approaching 500 members. I will be sharing this feature with the group as I especially want to open it up to the genuine jazz community.

Introduction: Jazz is Dead! Long Live Jazz! The Jazzers’ Debates … From the Mouths of Jazzers!

Jazzers’ Debate No 1: Younger Jazz Bands and Musicians

JAZZERS’ Debate No 2: Younger Jazz Bands and Musicians

Jazzers’ Debate No 3: Mentoring and Jazz Clubs

Jazzers’ Debate No 4: Swing Dance & LindyHop

Jazzers’ Debate No 5: Signs of a Jazz Revival in Europe! Why Not in The UK?

Jazzers’ Debate No 6 Jazz Clubs & Ageing Fans

Jazzers’ Debate No 7: Ageing Fans and Cherry Pickers

Jazzers’ Debate No 8: New Orleans & UK Traditional Jazz

Jazzers’ Debate No 9: Clarinet versus Saxophone

Jazzers’ Debate No 10: Musicians’ Pay

Jazzers’ Debate No 11: BBC “Jazz is Dead”

Thank you for giving up so much of your time to contribute to these discussions. My hope is that they will help stimulate minds to find the best way forward.

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor, Jazz&Jazz

The End of the Jazz Age?

The Lakefront Loungers featuring at The Ken Colyer Trust Autumn Jazz Parade, 2008.

We are on the eve of 2013 The Autumn Jazz Parade at Hemsby Norfolk. As will become apparent in this post, I owe so much to this festival that I feel somewhat guilty for being late of the mark in featuring it on Jazz&Jazz this year due to recent inordinate pressures on my time. Until 2009 the festival was organised by The Ken Colyer Trust but when the trust was wound up Pete Lay took over the organisation of this major event on the annual jazz calendar and long may it continue.

So, are we really at the end of the jazz age? Where to begin?

Back in the sixties prior to the Beatles, jazz was the in thing. As a fickle teenager I “digged jazz”, got involved in gigs, followed local bands, snuck into venues during intervals without paying, and enjoyed some great seafront parties where “Seven Golden Daffodils” and “Lift to the Scaffold” were the rage. And topping the pops: “Stranger on the Shore” and “Midnight in Moscow”. Not “trad” I admit, nor New Orleans Revivalist Jazz. But in those days there was also Sammy Rimington on home turf in Kent.

Fast forward to 2008 when my oldest and closest friend and fellow teenage jazz compatriot told me he “had got back into jazz”. To cut the story short that same year we spent a glorious weekend at The Ken Colyer Trust Autumn Jazz Parade in Hemsby, Norfolk.

The Oriental Jazz Band

Sammy Rimington and his International Jazz Band topped the bill – along with Annie Hawkins, Cuff Billet, Trefor Williams, Emile Van Pelt and Eric Webster. And there was a young star, just 19, Amy Roberts who played a saxophone duet with Sammy. Plus The Oriental Jazz Band – a brilliant YOUNG band from Holland.

I was smitten. The past came flooding back to me. Jazz had lured me back – but this time it was no teenage whim, I was genuinely ensnared. And so, saddened too to realise jazz’s decline!

The Dye was Cast!

So Ginny and I booked again for the 2009 Jazz Parade – the final festival under the Ken Coyer Trust banner. Incredibly “fate” intervened. Ginny won the Star Draw top prize – a trip for two to New Orleans for the French Quarter Festival. Words cannot express our joy and from that point on the dye was cast –  for me there was no going back.

Dew Drop Hall, Mandeville: Elite musicians including Barry Martyn, Greg Stafford and Dr Michael White.

First I got to painting portraits of jazz musicians. Then I got involved in striving to keep jazz live in Lemsford Village, Hertfordshire, and in supporting Brian Smith (Smiffy) in launching and bringing live jazz back to Welwyn Garden City.

The next step was to launch my Jazz&Jazz website to further my campaign for real jazz and to assist in launching a brand new jazz festival, “Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle”. Following hard on the heals of that came my Facebook presence and Facebook Jazzers Group.

I am now receiving a mass of emails and messages each day covering all aspects of jazz, but many of them bemoaning the plight of jazz and its apparent demise – also a hot topic for debates on Jazzers. (My apologies if currently I’m somewhat slow in responding. I promise this is soon due to change.)

Back to the Stark Title of this article: The End of The Jazz Age?

Recently I posted on Jazz&Jazz a lament about the imminent end of Thursday lunchtime jazz at The 100 Club and cross referenced it to the Jazzers Group. This resulted in a spate of comments and an ongoing debate.

Jim Appleton wrote in response to the post:

“I’m afraid that the writing has been on the wall for a long time and there are several different reasons for it. Even 20 years ago Monty Sunshine used to look through the hole in the tabs before going on stage and say “there’s a lot of snow out there” referring of course to the amount of grey / white hair in the audiences. The older musicians are reaching the age when they either pack it in or pass away, so many in this last year or so, and of course the audiences are going the same way. Other reasons include elderly people not wanting to venture out after dark, the drink driving laws and no smoking venues haven’t helped and the current financial situation has taken its toll. The lunchtime 100 Club sessions was a great idea but as the article says the numbers attending have dwindled and transport costs / congestion charge etc. are an obstacle. I live in Gillingham in Kent and a return ticket is £23.00 to Oxford Circus off peak for a 1 hour journey by train and the Oxo + the admission fee to the club and a couple of pints and I won’t get much change from £40.

“The other point about getting the youngsters in is important and the older fans among us must try to remember the heyday of trad when they were noisy, brash and wanted to dance the night away and were probably a pain in the arse to the older people around in that time. Young people today aren’t a lot different to what we were, they are just young with a lot more choice about where to spend their money and if Jazz is going to last we’re gonna need them to carry it forward. There really are so many great kids out there playing and they need supporting or they’ll move on to something else. I did a gig years ago, I think in Chipping Norton, with Terry Lightfoot’s band and a lot of young people came into the theatre as first time jazzers. They really enjoyed it and a few of them got up in the aisle and danced to a couple of tunes. The reaction from the rest of the audience was so negative towards them that the youngsters never returned for the second half which was a pity as they were only dancing in the side aisle and not obstructing the view.

“If we can find a solution and bottle it up we’d make a fortune, may I suggest that the festival organisers try to get some form of sponsorship, which I believe the 100 club did with the converse shoe company to stop the club from closing, to help fund the festivals and move a little bit sideways to facilitate the younger bands and their followers … just a thought.”

John Petters commented on Jazzers:

“Peter, We are at the end of the jazz age which effectively started in 1953.

“I have to differ with you on this subject. Something very different is happening this year and it is related to the history of traditional jazz or perhaps ‘trad’ jazz and the age profile of those for whom it was their pop music. A 20 year old in 1953, when Colyer returned from New Orleans, is now 80. The boom lasted until 63. Those 20 year olds are now 70. Post 1963, the pop music was the Beatles and jazz ceased to be ‘pop music with a large following. Indeed it was regarded as old hat by my age group. I’m 60. We are facing a real melt down at clubs festivals and other jazz related events. Young people will not come to venues where old people go. To much traditional jazz played today sounds tired and offers little excitement. I think back to the days when I, as a teenager, discovered the music. I found very few bands had the excitement that Max Collie’s band could offer. Max’s band was a young band and was playing to a young audience. I saw Colyer with Colin Bowden and heard it there. Bands have to stop being polite. As a jazz promoter, who puts his money where his mouth is, I can see clearly what is happening. An example of the problem – which will get worse – is my Bracklesham festival last weekend I’ll re-post what I said on the Brothers thread – ” 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 we lost the partners where appropriate. One regular suffered a heart attack, one lady in a group of three needed care – so we lost all three” People are booking later. It is not the problem of the product. According to many guests, last week’s festival was musically our best yet. It comes down to mobility and health. We all have to face this and I applaud your enthusiasm, Peter – but I don’t see an easy fix. The Swing dance scene is entirely different. That is a young audience – and they are there to dance. Attracting that young audience to traditional jazz events – particularly if played by tired old men with a lack-lustre approach will be a real problem.”

Kay Leppard commented:

“One of the biggest problems is that older fans tend to be far more intolerant than the younger generation and moan about the silliest little thing. ‘Someone is in our seats’, ‘The beer costs more than it did 10 years ago’. ‘They don’t play at the right tempo for the dancers’. ‘I can’t see if they’re dancing in front of me’. You name it we’ve all heard it. Let’s face it it’s not a case of the young people not wanting to go where their parents are, it’s now a case of not wanting to go where their grandparents are in many cases, and who can blame them.”

Jeff Lewis said: “No way the end. It’s very much there, just changing a bit.”

Striving for a Way Forward

Very astute observations, one and all. But should we let it go at that?

Surely not, so I for one want to explore ways to bring all such thoughts together, analyse them and strive for a way forward. I’m hoping The Brothers will be open to my observations and if I can come up with a feasible project (I’ve begun sounding one out), back it! Finances? Always the big bug bear but an off the top of my head thought and perhaps a long shot – there’s such a thing as Lottery Funding!

Far better yet if we could get a spread of serious input from fellow Jazzers suggesting ways forward. So Fellow Jazzers, young, middle aged or getting on in years, your input would be hugely appreciated.

As Norman Grodentz messaged me: “Never give up, never surrender!”

“Eyes on The Master”: Jazz&Jazz Portrait of Amy Roberts and Sammy Rimington in Duet at the 2008 Ken Colyer Trust Autumn Jazz Parage, 2008.

Photos © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz

Further Reading:
Earlier this year I ran a series of 11 posts on Jazz&Jazz based on debates initiated on my Facebook Jazzers Group. Each post has a bearing but for those who take these matters seriously enough I recommend revisiting the following posts in particular:

Jazz is Dead! Long Live Jazz! The Jazzers’ Debates … From the Mouths of Jazzers!

Jazzers’ Debate No 1: Younger Jazz Bands and Musicians

JAZZERS’ Debate No 2: Younger Jazz Bands and Musicians

Jazzers’ Debate No 4: Swing Dance & LindyHop

Jazzers’ Debate No 6: Jazz Clubs & Ageing Fans

Jazzers’ Debate No 7: Ageing Fans and Cherry Pickers

“Keep Doing What You Are Doing”: Just Jazz Magazine Features Jazz&Jazz



Jazz & Jazz: honoured to be featured in the May,

2012, issue of Just Jazz.

So much so, that we are pleased to reproduce the article here for our online followers:


 By Peter Butler 

“The art of life is to know when to seize on accidents and make them milestones.” Chairman Humph. (A gem from Humphrey Lyttelton’s autobiography, “It Just Occurred to Me”).

It all began in my teenage years in Herne Bay on the North Kent coast in the late 1950s and the early 60s. Jazz was the in thing back then. Memories flood back of gigs at The Kings Hall and The Queen Vic in Herne Bay and Rechabite’s Hall in Canterbury. In those days Sammy Rimington’s early hunting grounds were in East Kent at such venues as Man of Kent in Rainham.

But when I moved to Hertfordshire in 1966, life changed course and  jazz was consigned to the back burner … until just a few years ago when Roger Pout, my oldest and closest friend from school days, told me “Peter, when you’re next down we’re going to take in some jazz gigs”. And we did – at The Duke of Cumberland in Whitstable when Burt Butler’s Jazz Pilgrims played there and at Thursday night gigs at The George in Shalmsford Street, Canterbury, and now at The Star in Old Wive’s Lees.

The New Milestone

Then back in 2008 Chairman Humph’s “accident” kicked in. Roger and his wife Chris had booked for the Ken Colyer Trust Autumn Jazz Parade in Hemsby, Norfolk, along with other close friends, Derek and Barbara. But at the last minute, due to illness, Derek and Barbara had to drop out and insisted my wife Ginny and I took their places, gratis.

We seized the opportunity and so began Humph’s new milestone in my life. For years I had painted landscapes and seascapes as a hobby. Following the 2008 Autumn Parade I couldn’t resist painting portraits of the jazz musicians at the festival, including Sammy Rimington who topped the bill that year … especially of him in a sax duet with brilliant young star Amy Roberts

New Orleans Bound

Then at the 2009 Autumn Parade I displayed my first collection of jazz portraits. But that wasn’t all. Incredibly my wife won the prize draw for a trip for two on the Southern Sounds tour of New Orleans in April 2010! It was an incredible experience and I gathered material for a whole series of jazz portraits.

Now the die was cast and the “accident” was turning into a phenomenon!

My wife and I felt we had to give something back to jazz, especially as the scene had changed so much since those earlier glory years.

So rather than just sell my jazz portraits, I hit upon a plan to launch a new website to help promote and support traditional jazz, with costs covered by the sale of my portraits, fine art prints and photographs.

So jazz&jazz.com was launched in June, 2011 – not just to feature my jazz art but also as a forum for jazz bands and jazz fans. And above all to support, promote and help revitalise Traditional Jazz.

JazzandJazz.com is dedicated to promoting jazz and more jazz for Jazz Bands, Jazz Musicians and Jazz Fans. The aim is to raise the profile of jazz and to develop a sounding board for jazz by inviting bands, musicians and fans to share news and views about the jazz scene. As more jazz paintings are commissioned and sales of the fine art prints and photographs increase to help cover costs of the site, the aim is to expand the scope and reach of JazzandJazz.com in support of jazz.

Celebrating the successful launch of the 2012 Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle season: Peter (third from left) with Committee Members John Myhill (left), Ron Sheldrake (second left) and John Morgan (right). Chis Pout was too busy with Shuffle fans to be included in the photo!

Helping Promote Traditional Jazz

Now Jazz&Jazz is going from strength to strength and as a result last year I was able help launch and promote a brand new UK jazz festival, Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle, providing advertising and promotional materials. This year Jazz&Jazz is again heavily involved in promoting the 2012 Seaside Shuffle Festival and associated monthly gigs at Court Stairs Manor & Country Club. The first gig held on 25 February with The Gambit Jazzmen was a huge success and Pete Lay congratulated the Seaside Shuffle Committee on their successful launch of the 2012 season. So it’s a huge pleasure to be working with Chris Pout and the rest of the Committee on this, especially as Chris is my jazz chum Roger’s wife.

My wife Ginny is a graphic designer and last year she suggested we look into using my jazz photos to help promote events and festivals. She wanted to produce a Jazz Guide ad for the Hemsby Autumn Jazz Parade for Pete Lay as a thank you for our trip to New Orleans. We have worked with Pete again this year to produced the 2012 Parade ad which includes some of my photographs.

Closer to home Jazz&Jazz is involved in helping promote our local Welwyn Garden City Peartree Monday Jazz Club. Working closely with Brian Smith, aka “Smiffy”, I produce the club’s six monthly programme and monthly flyers and Jazz Guide ads as well as heavily promoting the club on the Jazz&Jazz website.

Getting Involved

So do take a look at www.jazzandjazz.com and if you would like a mention on the site, email me: [email protected]. Above all please get involved and use the Comment boxes at the foot of each item to add your views and opinions. This helps boost jazzandjazz.com – and traditional jazz – in Google rankings. Come to that, since getting so re-involved, I’ve met a number of “lapsed fans” now getting back into jazz like myself. All grist for the mill!

I want to thank Pete Lay for his interest in my jazz portraits and photos and for the support he is giving me with Jazz&Jazz.com. Thanks too go to Trefor Williams, Bob Thomas and Emile Martyn, a fellow artist, for their support and encouragement. Also special thanks to Barry Martyn who wrote to me urging me to “keep doing what you are doing”.

JazzandJazz.com is dedicated to promoting jazz and more jazz for Jazz Bands,
Jazz Musicians and Jazz Fans. The aim is to raise the profile of jazz and to develop
a sounding board for jazz by inviting bands, musicians and fans to share news
and views about the jazz scene. As more jazz paintings are commissioned and
sales of the fine art prints and photographs increase to help cover costs of the site, 
the aim is to expand the scope and reach of JazzandJazz.com in support of jazz.

Rising Jazz Stars

It bears repeating what an ardent fan recently said tome at a Fallen Heroes session: “Who said jazz musicians are all oldies, this band is full of youngsters!”. Nevertheless, jazz oldies by far outnumber the youngsters and if trad jazz is to make that long awaited comeback onto the big stage we need to applaud it’s rising stars.

So for starters let’s feature Amy Roberts, Adrian CoxBaby Jools and Ian Wynne.

AmyRobertsAmy Roberts

I first met Amy at the 2008 Ken Colyer Autumn Jazz Parade in Hemsby, Norfolk, where Sammy Rimington invited her to join him in a saxophone duet.

Afterwards I overheard Sammy saying: “Amy’s got a natural talent and feel for the music. She’s got rhythm. She’s got swing. She’s the future of jazz.”

Voted winner of the British Jazz Awards Rising Star Category in 2009, Amy also placed second in the 2010 awards.

Just in her 20s, she joined the Big Chris Barber Band early in 2011. More recently along with Richard Exall she launched the ‘Amy Roberts Richard Exall Quintet’ which was voted ‘Band of the Year 2013/2014’ and presented ‘The Harry Cameron Trophy’.

Adrian Cox

I’ve got to know Adrian Cox through his scintillating performances with T J Johnson (www.tjjohnson.co.uk/) at The Crypt, St Martin in the Fields, London, guesting with The Fallen Heroes as well as Barry Martyn and the Young Bloods at the 100 Club and at the 2009 and 2010 Autumn Jazz Parades in Hemsby. No matter what the occasion he is always happy to stop and chat and he undoubtedly charms the ladies. Adrian featured in the 2010 British Jazz Awards on clarinet. He now stars regularly with “The Adrian Cox Quartet”.

He starred in a stunning saxophone duet with Amy Roberts at the 2010 Hemsby Autumn Jazz Festival and below is my acrylic painting and my poem capturing them putting on the style.

Amy and Adrian putting on the style. Acrylic portrait by Peter M Butler.

Reeds in Duet

Saxophone and clarinet
Reeds in duet
Amy and Adrian
Trad Jazz’s Jet Set

Keeping the spirit of jazz alive, Amy Roberts and Adrian Cox steel the show
with a stunning duet at the 2010 Autumn Jazz Parade
in Hemsby, Norfolk.

Dynamic Baby Jools

Dynamic Baby Jools

Baby Jools

Baby Jools (Julyan Aldridge) gave a phenomenal performance on drums with Max Collie’s Rhythm Aces during the Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle festival in July, 2011.

When just 19, Baby Jools was described on Max’s website as having “lots of drive and swing.” (www.maxcollie.co.uk)

He was a driving force with Matt Palmer’s Millennium Jazz Band, starred with the Chris Barber Band and also plays drums for the Bennett Brothers. Nowadays you will see him with “Baby Jools & The Jazzaholics”

Baby Jools is high on my list of future portraits but should you be interested in placing an advance order for an Art& Verse fine art print, please email me at: [email protected] and I will prioritise the portrait.

Brilliant young pianist, Ian Wynne

Brilliant young pianist, Ian Wynne

Ian Wynne

I was blown out of the water by Ian Wynne’s stunning piano performance with the Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band at Hemsby’s 2011 Autumn Jazz Parade. Ian joined the Rae Brother’s “under the auspices of his mother” and now, still in his early 20s, his keyboard skills already emulate great jazz pianists like Emile Van Pelt and Ray Smith.
The Rae Brothers took him under their wing and encourage his studies at Birmingham Conservatoire. He told me he had to head back straight after the festival for a special assignment.

If you are interested in any of my Fine Art Gicée Prints, simply email: [email protected] to place your order and help support jazz.