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2011 remembered – by Sebastian Scotney

Ruth Goller. Photo credit: Richard Kaby

LONDONJAZZ’S YEAR

– In January 2009 I set out to convey the endless vitality and 24/7 buzz of London’s live jazz scene. Because both are there in such abundance, LondonJazz has worked. QED.

-We are not far short of 750 pieces in this, our third year- plus we have an active and mostly civilized comment forum under many posts.

– Brilliant contributions have come in from all sides – Geoff Winston and Chris Parker have been prolific throughout the year.

-We had 100,000 page views in November.

-We produced 25 London Jazz Festival reviews, covering 30 gigs- I wrote just two of them, so that makes twenty-eight gigs covered by others.

-Gifts come in too: we’ve had newsletter prizes for our readers from thirty-five different partners.

THE MUSICIAN’S VOICE, THE AUTHENTIC VOICE

The internet shortens communication chains. Musicians have responded amazingly to the invitation to get involved, and have written when they’ve wanted to tell people something. The voice from the participant on the stand is the authentic voice. It breaks down the barriers, it brings people in. And that is why it is of such value.

Just a few examples of who’s been writing:

– We had Jamie Cullum looking forward to being “spanked..and inspired” by Liane Carroll and Ian Shaw.

– Liane Carroll and Ian Shaw wrote about each other.

– Nick Smart wrote about the Kenny Wheeler Celebration at the Jazz Standard in New York.

– Stan Sulzmann wrote about one of the most significant composition projects of our time (He didn’t call it that, I did.)

– When Kai Hofmann wrote about Fran Landesman, little did she know she was describing the great singer-lyricist’s last appearance.

– Pete Churchill wrote touchingly about the excitement of working with the London Vocal Project:

The secret of our cohesiveness is that LVP is more than a choir – it is a meeting place for people who have found that they like to spend time together. And I believe that the music we make benefits from this sense of community… all the eating, drinking, baking, laughing and crying we do together is reflected in how we sing as an ensemble. In a world where people seem to be trying to spend less time together, it is a rare thing to find an ensemble that have invested so much time – regular time – in each other.

– Back in March, Fran Hardcastle guest-edited for us, and her intervention produced no fewer than twelve wide-ranging pieces by women writers in celebration of International Women’s Day. They included a fabulous, truthful, completely unsolicited piece from Ruth Goller.

GIGS

From my own experience their have been lots of powerful experiences. Here are just four which spring to mind out of many:

– I loved the white heat of Malcolm Edmonstone‘s re-creation of Donald Fagen’s Nightfly album back in February.

– I got so carried away by Kenny Barron in The Very Thought of You I found myself getting all Pseuds Cornerish with a Rilke sonnet.

– The debut performance by BLINQ in the Britjazz festival in August was astounding.

– I’ve been lucky to get to a number of festivals this year. I shan’t forget New Orleans singer/pianist, and heir to Donny Hathaway, Davell Crawford at Inntoene in Austria.

THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Gigs bring people together. They reinforce the sense of community and common purpose. But in this context, how can one not also feel deeply the sudden loss of inspiring musicians, people who had given their all to make life more complete for the rest of us.

– We miss Richard Turner and Graham Fox intensely, deeply, because they have both departed from us far too young.

– I was also deeply moved by the tributes which came in for Gordon Beck and Michael Garrick.

Thank you everyone who’s been involved for supporting LondonJazz in 2011.

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4 replies »

  1. Yes indeed Sebastian, LondonJazz is the online home of jazz in London. Which is to say (sorry provinces) jazz in the UK. Or why stop there, make that Europe.

    I've heard some wonderful music this year but the emotional highlight was our Tomorrow's Warriors Jazz Orchestra (renamed the Nu Civilisation Orchestra) performing the Music of Steve Williamson at the Southbank with Steve coming along and taking part. There was hardly a dry eye in the house, it was an extraordinary moment.

    All the best from everyone at Dune Towers to all your readers for a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.

  2. Congrats Seb, and all contributors. The whole thing gives me hope that we're not completely doomed to a homogenised plastic culture…
    As you know, I call jazz “The beautiful curse” – and I'm v happy to find so many informed and erudite fellow-afflictees (is that a word?) on these v pages!
    More power to your, er, fingers for an even more amazing Olympian year 🙂
    MERRY XMAS everyone!

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