Nick Lea: 10 Years of Jazz Views

Our good friends at the Jazz Views website produce between 30 and 50 album reviews in a typical month, as well as interviews and features. 2022 is their tenth anniversary. Founder/Editor is Nick Lea, based in Cumbria. We invited him to reflect on Jazz Views’s past ten years. Happy Anniversary! Interview by Sebastian:

LondonJazz News: What made you start Jazz Views?

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Nick Lea: The idea of starting a jazz website had never occurred to me until a friend inadvertently planted the seed. Having moved away from Wales where I grew up, I was writing regularly to a fellow jazz enthusiast and friend, often discussing albums I had purchased. When told that I wrote interesting letters and that I should write reviews, I started doing just that. Initially, the reviews were written and compiled on to a ‘newsletter’ and emailed to friends. These in turn seemed to be getting forwarded on to others, and the logical next step was to build a website.

The first edition of Jazz Views ran from 2002 until 2006. The current edition started up in 2012, and I was very fortunate that many of the original contributors wished to write for the site again and indeed still do.  

Nick Lea

LJN: Has the recipe changed?

NL: The recipe hasn’t really changed over the last ten years, and in fact some of the features such as the Musician’s Playlist stem from the first Jazz Views. The idea has always been to present an ‘internet magazine’, and the content has primarily focussed on album reviews and interviews. This naturally expanded to some live reviews and book reviews along with the aforementioned Musician’s Playlist. I suppose the mission statement of the website is to provide a platform for new artists to have their music reviewed alongside established artists with a view to introducing as many people as possible to their work. 

LJN: Ten of your favourite pieces…or moments?

NL: That’s a tough one. All the content written for Jazz Views over the last decade is still on the website and hopefully easy to access. Aside from the album reviews, there have been many interesting interviews and articles that I have had a hand in or that were written by our contributors; some of my favourite would include:

A series of articles published on the 25th anniversary of Miles’ passing.

A wonderful collaboration that resulted in an exception album.

One of my favourite musicians talking about what may be his finest recording to date… but it’s not jazz!

Fascinating interview with Lee in conversation with Jack Kenny.

This 14 CD boxset is the biggest challenge I’ve undertaken for a review. Full of excellent music from a unique artist who is sadly missed.

A fantastic re-appraisal of this classic album written by Chris Baber.

Review of Jack Chambers’s book on Duke, reviewed by Jack Kenny.

I can’t get enough Miles, and this is an interesting look at the last phase of the trumpeter’s work written by George Cole.

A piece that I was invited to write for Women In Jazz Media for their first magazine. 

A personal journey and look into the creative process.

LJN: If you could change one thing in the jazz landscape what would it be?

NL: A difficult and interesting question, where would one start? Perhaps the answer lies with building an audience for the music, not just for the present but the future.

Jazz is often generalised as a difficult music, but maybe the term should now be diverse instead. With such a wide spectrum of music falling under the umbrella of “jazz” it should be easier to draw an audience. I have had many people tell me that they don’t like jazz, but they’ve heard very little and have a preconceived idea of what they perceive as jazz.

Listening to music live is a great way to appreciate any new musical genre, especially jazz with the heightened sense of being in the moment as the music is created in front of you. The battle, as always, seems to be persuading people to open their ears and minds.

LJN: And what would make Jazz Views’s existence easier?

NL: The answer is simply time. There is so much wonderful music being made, and despite the apparent decline in sales in CDs there are plenty of new albums being released every month. It is of course impossible to cover everything, yet that most precious commodity of time would allow Jazz Views to feature more interviews and album reviews.

On a positive note, there are exciting plans ahead for the future development and growth of Jazz Views, and these will be revealed over the next few weeks and months.

LJN: Whom do you need to thank?

NL: I would like to thank all the contributors who have given generously of their time and expertise. Special thanks go to Euan Dixon, Roy Booth, Jack Kenny and Ken Cheetham, who have been writing for Jazz Views from the very first edition of Jazz Views, and have been a constant source of reviews, interviews and articles. Jazz Views has also been fortunate to have acquired the services of Chris Baber, George Cole, Derek Ansell, Eddie Myer and Jim Burlong (who has currently retired from writing) along the way.

Thanks also to the musicians, labels and distributors who have kept us supplied with albums to review and helped arrange interviews.

LINK: Jazz Views website

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