Wishful Eggheads answer
In this, the fourth and final year-end list, London Jazz News’ friends – musicians, writers and promoters – look into 2018 and share their hopes and dreams. You can add your own wishes in the comments section. Contributions compiled by Peter Bacon:

Peace and understanding FFS. (Rob Adams – journalist)

That the world’s pendulum begins to swing back in the direction of reason, generosity and clapping on the two. (Peter Bacon)

The same as last year, doubled in intensity: a wish for British, European and international jazz musicians to keep on working together – and so bring other people together. (Alison Bentley)

For Bunny Berigan to be the answer to a question on University Challenge or Eggheads, thus helping to counter the general media impression that Ella and Miles are the only jazz musicians who have ever existed. (Brian Blain)

It would be productive to approach performances in a more interdisciplinary, multi-dimensional perspective, to take embodiment, context and audience more seriously.  Henning Bolte)

I’m going to buy a saxophone and learn the intro to Baker Street. (AJ Dehany)

Meshell Ndegeocello
Photo: uncredited
May 2018 be the year for a new album by Meshell Ndegeocello. And of more time for listening and learning. (Götz Bühler, editor, Jazz thing – European Jazz Legends)

Better working conditions for everyone who is involved in music, especially artists, photographers, journalists… (Ralf Dombrowski)

An anti-Brexit campaign to strengthen ties and exchanges between British and other European musicians and promoters. As part of this, restoring the grant for the Match & Fuse Festival. (Tony Dudley-Evans, Jazzlines Birmingham and Cheltenham Jazz Festival)

I recently saw Elaine Delmar singing at Zedel, together with Robert Meadmore and pianist Jamie Safir. I’d never heard – or heard of – Elaine before, so that night was a revelation. Born in Wood Green and now in her late 70s, this veteran soulstress can truly hold her own against the Sarah Vaughans of this world. Some gems are best left hidden, but this one needs to be there for all to see. (Sebastian Fox)

I have been lucky enough to see many musicians from abroad during the last year: I hope that the fall in the value of the pound and the volatile political situation do not stop musicians from around the world feeling able to visit our shores. (Patrick Hadfield)

That the Arts Council gives funding to grass roots supporters. (Alan Hayward)

That the West Midlands promoters, notably Phil Rose (Birmingham Jazz), Neil McGowan (Jazz Cov), Jay Riley (Stratford Jazz) and Phil Woods (Jazzlines) continue their mission to put on world-class jazz in friendly, listening venues, provide good conditions/fees to bands and find new audiences. (Mary James)

We’ll be hearing a lot more from Aaron Wheeler, Todd Baker, Ida Hollis and Sophie Alloway of The Lydian Collective, a young prog-jazz outfit whose dazzling chops and extraordinary time signatures do not mask their gift for gorgeous melody. (Peter Jones)

More venues opening and more people coming out to hear live music of every kind, and more opportunities for working British live musicians on TV and radio. (Barb Jungr)

Calum Gourlay Big Band
Photo credit: Phyllis Tweed’s Twitter feed
Calum Gourlay Big Band. A revelation to hear the man who never wastes a note writing for large ensemble. (Hans Koller)

That the London audience will make the most of the forthcoming rare appearance down South by the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra at Ronnie Scott’s in late January 2018 – three show, three different programmes, all packed with originality and performance flair from what is surely Europe’s top big band right now. (And they’re premiering their latest project centred on Carnival Of The Animals with Japanese maestro Makoto Ozone in February for Scottish audiences.) (Mark McKergow)

The Daniel Karlsson Trio from Sweden. Four albums into their career, the band’s on top, top form. London needs to hear them and yet, astonishingly, no signs yet of promoters and venues snaffling them up. This injustice needs addressing and the jazz gods should move heaven and earth to make it happen in 2018. (Rob Mallows)

More time. Please, more time… (Steve Mead)

My wish for 2018 would be that all musicians actively and emotionally support their peers, it’s such a powerful thing to give and receive. I am trying to look at my social feeds in a new way, and instead of feeling envious of what I see achieved by others, feeling grateful for being connected to these people and happy for their successes (as well as taking them with a healthy pinch of salt)… (Robin Phillips )

Would love to see the word “improvisation” as the main component of jazz used more rarely; each football match contains more improvisation than most of jazz (Michael Rüsenberg, Köln)

I have had fantastic experiences in 2017 with young people interning with LJN at the Music Base at Kings Place. Matt Sulzmann, Gigi Williams and Gail Tasker, thank you all. You have sped us up and been fun to work with. You enabled us to function at the capacity where we can do justice to the amazing and lively jazz scene that it is our privilege to write about. My wish is that either one or more of you will come back. Or that new people will try the experience of being an LJN intern. (Sebastian Scotney)  

There are already plenty of barriers that make it difficult for British musicians to get gigs in Europe and for European musicians to get gigs in the UK. Let’s hope that at least the Brexit negotiations don’t make things worse, and maybe we can even get the Arts recognised as a special case. Who knows – perhaps Arts Council England is already lobbying for that. (maybe!) (Peter Slavid )

I would like to single out Sara Dowling, a very fine singer (and composer for TV & film) who appeared at the 606 for London Jazz Festival in a night called Sara Goes to the Movies. Sara’s forte is unquestionably the performance of standards from the Great American Songbook, which she does with unparalleled style & timeless elegance. Captivating. (Laura G Thorne – Marketing/PR Manager, 606 Club)

Someone to create a grant-funded scheme for access to rehearsal rooms/studios for a spell – say three months? – so people trying out new formations can develop the music without being reliant just on occasional gigs. (Jon Turney)

Mike Gibbs and the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Bill Frisell, from the film Bill Frisell: A Portrait by Emma Franz.
Photo credit: Emma Franz
Mike Gibbs’s triumphant 80th birthday tour (including two ecstatic Vortex gigs) reminded us what a great, original contemporary music figure he is. My wish for 2018 is that Emma Franz’s warm and magnificently musical documentary Bill Frisell: A Portrait, in which Gibbs appears as Frisell’s teacher, friend and orchestrator, becomes an enormous success when it is released – on Blu-ray, DVD via the website www.BillFrisellFilm.com, digital formats and in cinemas – within the next month. (John L Walters)

Please can Anouar Brahem bring his Blue Maqams band to the UK (Dominic Williams)

Tate Modern’s exhibition, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, drew a diverse cross-section of visitors captivated by the art, contemporary documentation and ephemera on display. London’s jazz venues bring in the very top musicians (British, American and others), who have heritage, have endured struggles, and are amazing players, yet their appeal has not, in the main, penetrated to a broader community and crossed cultural divides. That should change, surely? (Geoff Winston)

Categories: miscellaneous

2 replies »

  1. Thanks for a stimulating set of memories of 2017 and wishes for 2018. I'm annoyed with myself for not listing the wonderful Basil Kirchin Weekend (Mind On The Run)in Hull in February as part of the UK Capital Culture Year. I had not heard of Basil Kirchin and therefore learnt a lot. There was also some great music curated by Serious.

  2. The contribution from Michael Rüsenberg above – has provoked comment elsewhere, and possibly does need some elucidation.

    The area of improvising in the broader context as a human trait has been a special area of study for Michael recently.

    He writes: “I am not at all surprised by the reaction of some jazz musicians who imagine they are the only people to have a handle on improvising.

    That is wrong from the perspective of music history and a whole bunch of other standpoints:

    The point has been best summed up by Vijay Iyer in the Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies (Volume 1 p.74)

    “The class of improvisational behaviors is so vast that it may be easier to list behaviors that are not improvised – the carrying out of routines, plans, checklists, pre-routed or pre-ordained actions, well-rehearsed songs and dances, rituals, recitations, pageants, ceremonies, scripted perfomances or fully composed works…It seems that this class of non-improvised behaviors are the overall exception, a relatively small (but important) subset of human behavior as a whole.”

    Michael’s work in this area has had its fullest exposition in a series of broadcasts for SWR, summarized in German. (LINK HERE)

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