Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A jazz archive?

Where do we get the old reviews of albums?
The internet and online reviews are the only place now where there are proper long-term archives of album reviews. This raises the importance of the reviews by the likes of Chris Parker on the Vortex web site or Peter Bacon's jazz breakfast to the same status as that of newspapers where there is a proper online archive (e.g. the Guardian). For regular news, then, there are blogs such as Londonjazz, or the pop-oriented ones, like Record of the Day.
Unfortunately, there is now no similar facility for researching the old copies of the main magazines, which therefore become ephemeral. Even though they are regarded as definitive and make substantial investment in articles and reviews (i.e. paying the contributors).In the old days, of course, it was possible to go down to the local library and look up copies of Jazz Journal, say. Now, how, for example, can we get hold of old reviews of Jazzwise and Jazz UK? I suppose there are still a few libraries around, and of course there's the National Jazz Archive in Buckhurst Hill. Then where? You could go down to Streatham (Jazzwise's headquarters), Cardiff (Jazz UK's headquarters), Colindale (the British Library newspapers Reading Room) and, I would expect, the copyright libraries in Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh.
If magazines like Jazzwise don't engage properly with the internet but prefer to fight it, they will go the same way as the major record labels, when they fought Napster etc., about a decade ago.

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