Request for Help

“London’s oldest bebop jam under threat”  

“The Jazz”, which takes place downstairs at the King’s Head in Crouch End on Sunday afternoons, is going through a tricky transition. There are contact details (a Facebook group and an email address) at the foot of this piece for any benevolent N8-ers out there who might be able to help.or just go to the gig where there will, as ever, be a friendly welcome. Jeanie Barton explains the background:

Founded in the 1960s by some of the UK’s bebop pioneers; pianist Iggy Quail, bassist Coleridge Goode and drummer Laurie Morgan, and located Downstairs at the King’s Head in Crouch End, N8 since the early 1980s ‘The Jazz’ as it’s affectionally known, has been running every Sunday afternoon from 2.30-5.30pm, only interrupted by Covid or Christmas days. 

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Musicians and audience alike have been swinging there on New Year’s Days and Xmas eves plus every Sunday in between for decades; relationships have been made, even jazz babies born and it has always been a fabulous knees-up.   

The Jazz is one of the few gigs around that encourages all ages as well as dancing – it has always been a bit of a mad house.  The first set is instrumental with the house trio plus sitters in and the second half opens to vocalists who get their names down early and bring their charts in the right key!  The trio and co have nurtured countless new talents, many of whom now have well-known names on the wider jazz scene having cut their teeth in this eccentric, friendly and lively space.  

Following on from Nigel Price’s keen observations of grass roots jazz being under threat post covid, this much-loved gig now finds its self in trouble.  Following the recent sad death of Peter Jodoin, who for decades supported the gig (setting up the room, buying and lighting the candles, running the sound desk, manning the door, organising tuning the piano every 6 months, covering the occasional short fall to pay the trio and setting down the room at the end) the jazz has lost its most reliable long-term supporter.  While there is no shortage of audience or passion for this gig from performers, personal circumstances have currently found the compere plus some other regulars no longer able to attend reliably enough to fulfil these required duties.   

Rose Tait has been holding the fort since Peter’s death but cannot manage alone.

As is often overlooked, promoting and running a gig is more than just playing.  ‘The Jazz’ community are now reaching out to anyone who may be able to help them – be they musicians or audience.  It would be very sad to see this gig fold after over 60 years. 

I hope to see you there this Sunday – as always, all are welcome!  Jeanie Barton

LINK: ‘The Jazz at the King’s Head’ group on Facebook

There are two ways to get involved offer support. The obvious one is to go in person to the gig this Sunday 1 May… or you can email rosetait (at)

Categories: Request for Help

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