Emma Webster and I are delighted to announce that our history of the London Jazz Festival, and of jazz festivals in London, has now been published. This is the final output of the AHRC-funded Impact of Festivals project (2015-16).
Webster and McKay have pieced together a fascinating jigsaw puzzle of archival material, interviews, and stories from musicians, festival staff and fans alike. Including many evocative images, the book weaves together the story of the festival with the history of its home city, London, touching on broader social topics such as gender, race, politics, and the search for the meaning of jazz. They also trace the forgotten history of London as a vibrant city of jazz festivals going as far back as the 1940s.
We have a small number of paperback copies available for suitable libraries, cultural organisations, festivals, researchers. If you would like one, get in touch.
We hope you enjoy our new book; do let us know.
Note: a large-print version of the book is available here.
[a new blog and film by me produced for the EU-funded Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals (CHIME) project website]
Most villages in Norfolk have at least one ancient church, flint-built, with round or square tower. So I was looking of such a building when driving to the gig last night in the village of Spooner Row, as part of this year’s Wymondham Music Festival. But surprisingly the church here is built of brick, slate rather than lead roof, no tower, just one bell, that hangs outside (and was taken from another church). I looked it up: Spooner Row church was built in 1847, in the Victorian period when many of the Saxon and medieval churches (which had managed to survive the English Civil War) were themselves having their interiors ‘improved’.
The band I was in is called hymn, a trio of trumpet/loops, percussion/electronics and double bass. As the name might suggest it’s a slightly slow music, harmonies and simple melodies, layered but spacious, perhaps contemplative or immersive. Kinda fitted the venue. The other band, Arthur, consist of alto sax, tuba, drums; their repertoire is inspired by the music of the late African-American saxophonist Arthur Blythe, and is somewhat more fiery, driving, and loud than hymn’s.
I filmed a bit of Arthur’s set standing in the rather sparsely populated graveyard of Spooner Row church, in the early evening summer sunset, at the end of a glorious English day. I wanted just to think for a moment about the location, the mature trees all around and fields beyond, the quiet graveyard, the setting sun, a nearby row of cottages, the striking building of this unusual Norfolk church, at one of the outlying events of a music festival centred on the local market town of Wymondham.
I realised that this concert I was playing at was a CHIME event in a modest way, in the manner that all of these re-soundings in mild surprise of musical gatherings that are organised in festivals everywhere are CHIME events. The warm clash of sound and setting, improvisation (music) and solid foundation (building), are one of the things we can expect of a festival.
At this one I thought, too, of how in fact this church and the jazz are not so very far apart in their chronology, or originary narrative, both being made, sort of, arguably, in the same century for a start. Made me think, as I stood in the English churchyard last night, how old that music of modernism is—modernism is—then how very recent.
We have organised this AHRC-funded day symposium which is focused specifically on collaborative research, including co-production, across GCRF, and brings together collaborative researchers and partners from the UK and internationally to discuss practice and potential in collaboration and development.
It is a pre-Mobilising Global Voices (British Library) summit event which complements and adds to the Mobilising Community Voices break-out session there. The day includes activities such as screenings or readings to showcase and interrogate arts practice as research.
We have taken advantage of the fact that we have a set of panellists from overseas attending the British Library conference to invite them, and other relevant speakers, to a sister pre-event for another audience. This other audience—you—consists of scholars and partners from across the Connected Communities programme (including our ECRs), UEA and regional scholars and partners. We also had an open registration for other interested parties more focused on the collaborative elements and opportunities of GCRF.
The symposium also gives our international guests from several projects more time and further opportunity to discuss their activities and experiences of GCRF and collaboration. Further, it will address the great deal of interest from arts and humanities within and outside Connected Communities in collaborative research in both international and development contexts.