A LOT of European musicians based in London don’t need much persuading- they tell me London already is the place to be.
Let’s investigate the claim with a bit of help from Google:
A search gives five existing contenders, using the phrases :
“jazz capital of Europe” and
“Europe’s jazz capital”.
The first stage must to be to eliminate the outsiders.
First outsider: Frankfurt. A few references only. I am prepared to be shot down in flames by Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (born in Silesia now part of Poland by the way) or by anyone else. But I will use the John McEnroe defence: Surely nobody can ask a Londoner to believe that the city (pictured above) looked over by the Dom Sankt Bartholomäus has a serious claim. Or can they?
Second outsider : Somerset. I kid you not. There are a number of links to an article from the Independent by the late Miles Kington mainly based on the undoubted facts that Iain Ballamy had set up home there, and that he routinely had a good time.
Which gets us down to THREE . Drum Roll.
Copenhagen. This claim mainly revolves around the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, now in its 31st year. If you want a quick history of Danish jazz, which doesn’t make the claim, here is an official communication on the subject from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Paris. Paris gets more mentions than any of the other three. But often in sentences referring to the past…such as :
“Sidney Bechet died in 1959, on his birthday in Paris, at the time the unchallenged jazz capital of Europe.”
If we accept the contentious assertion that London is in Europe….then surely it’s….. London: I can only find the claim being made so far once, by Keith Porter of Common Ground Radio, in a transcribed conversation.
From today following phrase will now be Google-able, here, for the first time
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“Welcome to London, jazz capital of Europe.”