We welcome trumpeter/ bandleader/ composer/ promoter Jack Davies woth the first “Jack’s been thinking…” a new, regular Friday comment slot.
There seems to have been a flurry of debate recently about the state of British jazz and what can be done to improve things.
The latest comes from Peter Bacon’s Jazz Breakfast blog, and it has raised a few interesting topics. One comment from Tom Shearer pointed to the Scottish Jazz Federation’s audience research, which explores, amongst other things, the pricing of jazz concerts.
Is £5 too little?
Do cheap ticket prices lead to an under-valuing of the artistic merits of jazz musicians?
According to the Scottish research, those attending jazz for the first time opted for concerts with a high ticket price, suggesting that they were indeed associating cost with quality.
The issue for me (as someone who puts on two fantastic bands every week for a price of a mere £5) is does low ticket price cause serious damage to the public perception of jazz?
The most expensive ticket to the Royal Opera House next weekend comes in at £205, while at Ronnie Scott’s, the priciest London jazz venue, the best seats are £42.50. This must, surely, have some effect on the publicly perceived hierarchy of the two genres.
At Jazz @ the North London Tavern, we have always been clear that what we offer bands is the chance to have complete musical freedom in friendly, and hopefully well attended surroundings, not a large wedge of cash. A lot of our audience members are regulars, and I would worry that audience numbers might suffer if ticket price was raised, and that would remove our whole raison d’être.
However, this issue does trouble me. The last thing these small venues are hoping to do is damage the British jazz scene in any way.
In the meantime, you can catch Head of the Jazz at the Royal Academy, Nick Smart and his Jazz Matanzas band, along with James Gardiner-Bateman ’s sextet this Sunday at the North London Tavern for a measly £5.
Let’s hope the room is full.
Jazz at the NLT is on FacebookThe NLT is at 375 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7QB, 150 metres from Kilburn Tube Station