This Thursday night 19th sees the launch of a brand new night – Platform33, run by Chloe Booker.
Chloe aims “to showcase the most interesting and exciting artists in an informal and fun way – removing the pretence and introducing the people and stories behind the arts. It will showcase the most diverse art forms.”
The launch event this Thursday alone features an opera singer, a graffiti artist, a string quartet, a beatboxer a dj and …WILL RIXON – jazz trumpeter.
Will Rixon will have 33 minutes on Thursday, to communicate on his own terms, to educate and to inspire the audience about jazz.
Will Rixon writes:
Here is a typical conversation for me:
Girl in bar: “So what do you do for a living?”
Will Rixon: “I’m a musician.”
Gib: “Oh right! So are you in a band?”WR: “Sort of. I play in a few bands, I’m a freelance musician.”Gib: “Do you play the guitar?”WR: “No, the trumpet. I play jazz mostly.”Gib: “Ah jazz, I really wish I was into jazz – but I just don’t understand it…”
Thes conversations set me thinking about how I could contribute to changing things, bringing people closer to understanding jazz.
Sometimes I talk about the process of improvising; explaining a bit about what is actually going on during a performance with a hope that it might help them enjoy the experience more. But the point it is not to try and make everyone a semi-jazz-intellectual, it is to excite them about the true purpose and meaning of the music. After all, it was the beat, the interplay between the musicians, the sensitivity and love I felt that drew me in at the age of 10.
For many people, the idea of jazz oozes sophistication and cool but when they turn on a recording they are met with a sound that is often esoteric and impenetrable so they give up. I can guarantee to any new listener that it’s not about trying to understand anything; it’s about being open. Jazz is more than a type of music, is an experience that you feel. It’s a palpable, live art form steeped in a history of old masters and technicians.
Jazz clubs are not simply places to go and listen to music. They are sacred places that give you the unique opportunity to witness moments of art unraveling. There is nothing like watching the process of 5 people move together, improvising a sound that has such a breadth of sincerity and maturity. Ears and minds are open. Added to that is the happiness I get from seeing a room of ordinary people feeling it, everyone on the same page. Each night is a party that celebrates the music and its depth ofemotion and empathy.
Complex things to master and to convey but so natural and powerful that it will be running through your body by the time you find your seat. If you simply wish to enjoy the music, forget ‘understanding’: leave the mystery to the participants – this takes years of dedicated and passionate practice. Everyone reading this has a responsibility.
Musicians don’t lose sight of your purpose. Jazz fans spread the word. And new fans, just take my word for it.
Platform 33 this Thursday 19th Jan is at the Upper Bar of Union Chapel, Upper Street N1.
£11 in advance and £15 on the door.
All profits are going to the NGO Thinking Development, which works with earthquake victims in Haiti.