Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What to look for in UK jazz in 2007

I was wondering about trends for 2007, both positive and negative.

1) 2007 will see the continued development in the UK of the BAND as opposed to just the musicians playing together. Following on the lead of Partisans, as well as Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland, bands like Led Bib and Fraud (both with albums out on Babel early in 2007), Outhouse from the Loop Collective and Empirical (to come out on Courtney Pine's label) will mash things up. With uncompromising music, they are nevertheless getting through to audiences of all ages. When I heard Outhouse on Monday at the Loop Collective night at the Oxford in Kentish Town, there were probably only 10% of the audience over the age of 30!
2) A number of musicians will move beyond the "promising" stage and really assert their presence. Three particular to mention are Robert Mitchell, Tom Arthurs and Tom Cawley.
3) We are seeing a flowering of top young bass players, an area where UK jazz has been lacking over recent years. Larry Bartley, Tom Mason, Phil Donkin, Johnny Brierley to name a few.
4) The media, funders and record industry will continue to fail to realise these positive trends. The first (especially newspapers) because they are only looking for short-term gimmicks, the second because this music mainly occurs below their radar and the funders are too lazy and risk averse; and the third because they do not have the adequate resources. (This is not to knock the work done by labels such as Babel, Basho and others, but we are all too small and insignificant! The scene has never properly recovered from the demise of Mactwo.)

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