Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jazz and its venues and its audience

Sebastian Scotney's Londonjazz blog (HERE) recently highlighted a debate that has evolved in France over venues, their status and their treatment of their musicians. Being involved in a venue myself - the Vortex - I realise constantly this discussion which often occurs internally, but also bubbles over every now and then.

I'd just like to make a few incidental observations:

1) Venues, and particularly those working daily, such as Duc des Lombards, have to look at all ways they can of survival. So putting food in people's mouths is one important way. In London, all the main venues (apart from the Vortex) do this. I sometimes fear that they are treated as supper clubs first and then as jazz venues. This was one of the original gripes of Laurent Coq.
Musicians of course do similar things. They sell t shirts, they sell CDs, whatever it is to raise their income levels.

Overall, it's a balance between quality and commercial!

2) The role of the audience at a jazz gig is vital, and often underestimated - usually by the audience themselves. So they think that, by talking, staring longingly in each others' eyes, or whatever, it won't affect the music. IT DOES! And of course, also the listening experience for the others wanting to appreciate their money's worth. Gail Brand's recent research for the Guildhall School of Music confirms this.

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