Monday, July 27, 2009

Is jazz helped by gimmickry

By which I mean pandering to what might create publicity, such as a commission or a festival.
The commission - a way for promoters to get a bit of a high from getting something different. Often from a festival. Barry Green told me yesterday that a band that he was in was encouraged to do a commission from a festival. It meant a whole change in the nature of the band. Extra musicians, time spent writing and rehearsing (which could have been better used for honing and improving). And the result was something played once and never again.
A festival is also a way of providing a gimmick and a sop for something that continues 365 days a year. Is it enough to just get the jazz "fix" over a few days or, in the case of the latest Britjazz festival at Ronnie Scott's, two weeks. The Olympics are going on about something called "legacy". We need that, at least from festivals, and also the link to the past that's also going on. For example, I introduced gigs at the last year's London Festival by saying, for example, "Day 8 of the London Jazz Festival and Day 320 of the Vortex Jazz Festival". It's a year round thing. As it is indeed for the musicians.

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