Wednesday, March 25, 2009

British jobs for British people? Maybe Wynton needs to change nationality.

The new regulations for work permits mean that the Vortex is now "recognised licenced sponsor" for work permits for non-EU and non-EEA nationals allowing the club to bring in musicians. It's a minefield as this article from spiked shows. It included a 90 minute grilling from 3 members of the Home Office Border Agency. (Maybe "grilling" is too strong a word, as they were actually very polite.)
Amongst other things, they insisted that we keep information on those musicians who have the right to work in UK, who might play in the club regularly (such as Gene Calderazzo, Jean Toussaint).
Even though a permit is now only £10 a musician, the additional controls are troublesome. We have already had one band being put off coming. Andy Robbins, who books for the Jazz Cafe, also told me of a tour that has just collapsed because of the new regulations.
Of course, the Vortex will just continue to book bands, and will book what it can. However, it is important for the club to have in its programme the likes of Tim Berne and others who set the standards and give the music an impetus, as well as collaborations such as Big Air, which could only exist by having Jim Black and Myra Melford working with Chris Batchelor and Steve Buckley. The same music takes on a totally different shape when played by a different constellation of musicians, as we know only too well.

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