Camberwell Crypt (2) A message from Some Kind of Blue Ltd

In order to restore balance with a previous post, we are publishing a Press Release issued on Wednesday by the new organizers of Jazz on Friday nghts at Camberwell Crypt in its entirety. The Friday nightsare continuing, with Martin Speake ‘s group tonight, and Basil Hodge next Friday.


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New Dawn for Jazz at the Crypt in St Giles’ Church Camberwell. SE5.

With the retirement in July this year of the long standing volunteer manager and licensee of St Giles’ Crypt, one of London’s most atmospheric jazz venues, St Giles’ vicar was concerned to secure the Jazz club’s future as a wholly sustainable, financially independent and accountable business. Continuing a programme of exciting high quality jazz was central to the vision for ongoing business.

In the absence of a suitable volunteer to replace the outgoing manager, and with the crypt in need of substantial investment and development, operational responsibility for the venue was contracted to a new company; Some Kind of Blue Ltd (SKOB). SKOB was set up by three experienced bar operators, all of whom have deep rooted and long term involvement with the Camberwell community, and a professional jazz musician, specifically to meet the church’s objective to sustain, nurture and develop the venue’s important legacy as a showcase for some of the best jazz in the UK.

After weeks of discussion with Jazz Umbrella (JU) over their position of booking bands for the Crypt, it was clear that it was not possible to reach a tenable working relationship with the promoter and JU were given notice to quit; JU were asked to inform all bands who had been booked ahead that their contracts with JU were no longer valid. At the same time SKOB re-contracted all affected bands to ensure an uninterrupted schedule of upcoming gigs.

Going forward, all jazz bookings are being handled by John Hoare. Proposals should be sent to John@camberwellcrypt.com

J Mark Dodds
Some Kind of Blue Ltd
Further information: mark@camberwellcrypt.com
Programme and mail sign up: http://www.camberwellcrypt.com/
Photos for publication: www.flickr.com/photos/camberwellcrypt

Categories: Uncategorized

5 replies »

  1. As a Jazz fan, i have long enjoyed going to the Crypt. So I was worried to hear that JazzLive had been kicked out. It seemed like a familiar case of a jazz being relegated while greedy commercial interests poured in. We all know the story.

    Having gone to the new nights at the Crypt, though, it seems the jazz, food and ambience is much the same as before (the PA is better). And, having spoken to the new promoter Mark Dodds, I don't think we have a lot to worry about. Mark wants to continue promoting jazz – including many of the same musicians. He has done it before and likes it. And he knows that the Crypt has a reputation for jazz, and that he would crazy to change anything.

    I don't agree with people being kicked out unceremoniously (proper notice should be given). I'm also thankful for everything that JazzLive has done to bring jazz to the area. But I do think it is up to the church to decide. Presumably there are reasons for why it wanted to make a change? Or was it just pique? We don't hear anything about this here. Maybe the church wasn't happy with the way things were run, wasn't happy that enough of the proceeds were being re-invested. I don't know – though presumably people don't get moved on for nothing.

    I think blaming Mark Dodds for the episode is silly. He didn't force the church to make a change. The church made the change. Creating an image of Mark as a devious capitalist bar owner is a bit sly – and unwarranted, as far as I can see.

    Finally, I don't think haranguing the church with this petition is going to achieve much. If I had a venue, and changed the promoter, I can't imagine I would respond to lots of messages saying what a bad decision I had made.. (I am going to sign this petition though, because I want this message to appear.)

    Seriously – I think all those who have put their name to this should examine the facts closely, rather than hearing only one side of the story. This seems like a classic “jazz club under threat from nefarious commercial forces” story. In fact, it may be something quite different. It could just be that, after 15 years, the church wanted to make a change. I think, it should be entitled to – especially if the impact isn't to affect our listening experience greatly.

    Finally, finally – I think that Jazz Live should some post concrete numbers for the surpluses they have “ploughed” back in over the last 15 years. And the charitable donations they have secured. It's all very well saying you are going to do this in the future – but what have you done in the last 15 years? Some facts would help us all to decide who is right, and wrong, in this case.




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