An interesting conference yesterday at Martin and Chamberlain’s splendid 1880’s-90’s Birmingham School of Art (Eros – above – by Brum pre-Raphaelite Sidney Meteyard*) on Jazz and the Media, well attended by BCU and Birmingham Conservatoire Students.
The first presentation was by Mike Connolly and Tony Higgins. They told the story of the making of the three part documentary Jazz Britannia. They stressed one major factor determining their editorial choices: the availability of powerful archive material which was either rights-cleared for use or affordable. They cited a particular case. Joe Harriott got covered properly because the BBC had video footage. They had initially drawn a blank in the BBC Archives. And then discovered the film they used because Higgins had taken the trouble to check under the name of Joe Arthurlin, Harriott’s original name.
William Ellis showed some fabulous photography, and talked about his coup de foudre- getting accredited to photograph Miles Davis in 1989. Is William a good photographer or what?
Alyn Shipton went through some statistics which demonstrated that Jazz Services lobbying in January has – already – increased the amount of British jazz and out-of-London jazz being broadcast on Jazz on 3 and Jazz Line-Up. But people of all ages the room were sceptical as to whether protectionism in music was such a hot idea. Indeed, someone suggested, the concept runs completely against the grain in jazz.
You have to hand it to the people in Birmingham: they collaborate well. The conference was a joint effort between the Interactive Cultures group at Birmingham City University who led and organized it, the Jazz Department of Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham Jazz. There was a lunchtime performance by the JJ Wheeler Quintet, who will be featured on BBC Jazz on 3 on Monday night 18th.
*Sidney Meteyard (1868-1947) studied at Birmingham School of Art and taught there for 45 years.