THE McJAZZ RANTS!
- the passionate outpourings of a Scottish Jazz lover
Live Jazz in the Oxfordshire Area
Jazz is a true performing art and allows the artist to combine his technique with the raw emotion of personal expression within the confines of a composition by himself or the many Jazz Standards handed down by the master composers of the popular song.
In an age where entertainment is deemed to leave one anchored
in front of a predictably boring TV it is refreshing to go out into the night
and revel in ebullient performances by Jazz Musicians who are masters of their
art and convey verve, vitality and tenderness with an exhilarating live
performance – nothing can beat it for lifting the inner spirit and enable you to
deal with the more hum drum aspects of daily life.
Time may be running out for your Event @ Concert Jazz - Have you bought your ticket and displayed a current gig poster?
Yes there are a few Devotees and Musicians that self organise and place their money at risk and hire a few local venues but most bands are too reluctant to run that risk and in the main their performances would be self financing if grants were given more freely to hire halls and place Jazz on a more public footing.
Remember the 1950’s Jazz at the Philharmonic series – of course you don’t - Norman Granz grabbed under utilised Classical Music Auditoriums to make himself a fortune placing America’s best Jazz Exponents on a Concert Stage where they could be hear and seen properly. Audiences of up to a thousand rather than the 30 or 40 that cram into dingy Clubs and Pubs for a revenue that barely rewards the Musician’s and certainly not the Organisers who generally do it for love or personal loss.
The writer once appealed for sponsorship to the Chiltern Railway for funds to organise a Chiltern Hundreds Jazz Festival – just think of it - Linear Jazz from Beaconsfield to Oxford on the M40 and Denham to Aylesbury on the Railway line. The opportunity to link road to rail and get Jazz back on the track, The ill considered reply was proffered free tickets for two on a day trip to London off peak time – it might as well been a ticket to Hell for all the value it contained.
Noise Abatement and Divided Loyalties
Concert Jazz established its popular Jazz Events at The Players Theatre in Thame over 18 months ago and now as a result of complaints from one adjacent neighbour that the Jazz was too loud and incessant - albeit for only 2 hrs once a month (and measured at 50 Db the level of a boiling Kettle) this popular Live Performing Arts activity was curtailed due to fear and consternation of imminent shut down of the entire Thame Theatrical experience. All due to one neighbour and the perceived fear of a Noise Abatement Order being forced on the Players Theatre Committee. The offending Promoter was immediately compromised by the final straw - the introduction of a Limited Liability clause being hastily applied in the event of losses resulting from an enforced shutdown. The planned July event was denied outright without consultation and the August event was limited to a one man Solo performance. The neighbour concerned appeared to have won without the slightest resistance from the Venue and effectively banished an artistic musical event from the Theatre to other more tolerant establishments in surrounding towns and villages thus denying some Thame residents of their regular local Monthly Concert Jazz experience.
But lo and behold - the Players Committee now appear to be missing the revenue produced by Concert Jazz @ and have now booked the self same venue regardless of closure risks with a Septet Dixieland Band. Will the dated wailings of Clarinet, Trumpet, Drums and Sax etc place the adjacent plaintiff "In the Mood" we wonder. Why are dual standards now being applied with such urgency by the Committee – or was there a conspiracy to usurp the original Promoters foundation idea for regular Jazz Performances in Thame. Yet we were warned before the first event by another adjacent and experienced neighbour to watch that they didn’t steal our ‘Thunder’. They are indeed now making their own NOISE without the help of Shakespear's Tempest or King Lear.
The upside of all this is that Thame now has more Jazz Venues due to welcome cooperation from the Thame Snooker Club and Chinnor RFC (the other places) and this can only be good for starving musicians and enthusiastic Jazz fans to decide which artists suit them best.
Lets have you comments on this duplicitous intrigue.
Oh! - and a Liquorice Stick told me I was putting on the wrong kind of Jazz - well the public can decides that!
Remember the wrong kind of leaves and the wrong kind of snow and perhaps the wrong kind of Plays,
During the 18 months at The Players it was extremely hard to get this Charity to displace their Play Schedules from the display cases in front of the Theatre in order to publicise our imminent Jazz Events, Hurried extensive personal postings on the interior were necessary to publicise future events on jazz nights. Visiting stage chatting politician luminaries intent on boosting their pension funds got half a page Editorial articles in the Thame Gazette while Britain's best award winning and highly respected musicians failed to get a mention of their rare presence in the Community. All that economy of interest has now been surpassed by the extensive TIC window display advertising and very large signs on the Thame by-pass announcing obscure and faded traditional jazz Trombone and Clarinet players at a deal of effort and expense - no such consideration for Concert Jazz events; I look forward to reading of their paramount achievements in their chosen field in our the local rag. Dual standards again? Such are the politics of Music and Committee revenues and affordable expenditures
As usual more Drama Offstage than On!
The Wicked Poster Fairies
I know that fly posting is illegal and can lead to the defacement of many surfaces when glue and paper are used to publicise events - then irresponsibly abandoned after an event which may never re-appear for perhaps another year if ever,
I do my responsible posting to within shops and offices that are willing to give
their support and my share of fly posting in discreet positions as it is so
difficult to get prominent sites that the public can refer to easily for local
activities. I am not alone in this purpose.
We seldom get any support for our high ideals and it often seems that pet projects get disproportional representation in prime sites and editorial comment where Jazz gets little or nothing.
My stapled and weatherproofed posters remain in position - I wish - until the gig is over then I dutifully replace them with up to date information.
Some kill joys, jealous or competitive venue managers, malicious jazz haters, bored dog walkers, drones and those that are accidentally caught short (perhaps) remove my posters on a daily basis - little knowing that as a Jazz Promoter my stamina is proven as I have a higher purpose in providing a Platform for British and International Musicians of Talent which is badly needed in this Art starved Town of Thame.
The Tooth Fairy was seen as a benevolent assistant for our childhood losses - yet the Poster Fairies are a malevolent force - what have they to gain by diminishing the publicity for the much needed Musical Arts - or is it something much more personal for those who perhaps envy ones ability to organise such events despite great personal financial risk and make a success of it. Thus frustrating further the ever present Wicked Poster Fairies..
If you see any surreptitious, covert, clandestine Wicked Poster Fairies at work removing Concert Jazz publicity media - please put it out of it's tormented misery,
Poster Wars Break Out! Prime sites threatened! - Thame Gazette headline
Fight the Fairies - keep Live Jazz in Thame - put a poster in your car or window!
The Beautiful Game -v- Live Jazz
David Beckham or Alan Barnes - who is the more reliable Performer?
and Who is Least Rewarded
Ah football - twas the working mans sport in days gone by - men in flat caps and working clothes who had to supplement their earnings by working on a Saturday morning would go to the pub after work for a Pie and a Pint then on to support their local Football Club. Only to show their delight or despair at their prowess on the one green field in the town - often throwing their caps in the air when a spectacular goal eas scored by the underdogs and receive another of the wrong size in exchange. All for One Shilling and Sixpence or 9d at half time. The price of a Pint or a Half. Alas No More -
Football has long since been usurped by grotesque
Corporate Entertainment, Media Moguls and Foreign Millionaires both on and off
the park - remember the legendary Jackie Milburn who demonstrated magic feet for
50/- a week - he fell into obscurity as Manager for Yiewsley FC near West
Drayton - oh that Geordie cry - Gi'e the Ba' tae Waur Jackie - circa 1950-7
To take the the kids to Footie in these enterprising times can set a breadwinner back £500 after travelling, parking, seats and food. One has also to be wary that your precious progeny do not come to harm from tribal extremists bent on agro.
Only 4% of the population is interested in football and it has been made populist (not popular) by careful strategy of holding multiple event competitions and up to 4 days a week and repeats on terrestrial television while your local pub is swamped by complete strangers who have yet to subscribe to Sky or buy a huge television screen. It has been sold to the nation as must see events and the promise of excitement is often denied to you by overpaid, unfit and uninspired players who earn a years salary in a week for failing your aspirations. It promises so much yet delivers so little - even World Cups which used to showcase Third World emerging talent has been anticipated by scouts who scour the world for new players.
Live entertainment such a s Jazz Events are often cancelled as a result of clashing with these ubiquitous matches and at unpredictable notice periods - oh those poor musicians - what must they feel when they tell the wife their bread has been stolen from them by 22 other so-called 'players'.
Player - Alan Barnes has a wife and kids to support solely by his prowess with his reed instruments as a professional Musician. His performance improves with every concert attendance as does his sharp wit..
Some 14% of the nation supports Jazz so we have them beat for numbers - why don't you assert your rights and ask for Concert jazz performances on these wide screen televisions by both bygone and current maestro's who guarantee a great performance and never pass on a mediocre delivery or bum note.
Support Live or Visual Jazz .Vehemently!
A more reliable and predictable performance venue is Concert Jazz in Thame
At least Jazz Musicians can Dribble!
The Marketing of Live Jazz
Why is it so hard to sell jazz a a live performing art to none but a faithful minority. We have the Cream of British and international Jazz passing through Thame and yet the Local Culture & Recreation Councillor's, Music Teachers and Local Publicity Media fail to recognise this or ignore their presence and the real significance of their visits. No wonder George Shearing, Victor Feldman and others left these shores to get regular and more profitable work and overdue adulation in America - and they new they were good enough to hack it amongst that challenging jazz community. No one is a prophet in their own land it seems. Little Jimmy and his Violin performing at the school end of term party gets due encouragement from the Thame Gazette - when he becomes a world class musician will he still enjoy the same attention?
Ii is of some concern to Mr McJazz that there are no acknowledgements or financial encouragement for the Amateur Promoters who are prepared to give the massive amounts of time and risk personal finance in order to bring this art form to a small village or town. If there are Local Authority Grants they are not widely publicised and after two years of bringing the finest Jazz to Thame i have yet to be approached by the Local Culture & Recreation Councillors to say thanks for doing this and how can they help to assist such ambitious promotions. The reverse is true - obstacles are placed in front of you for the distribution and display of Publicity material. Local publications fail to see that this may be of interest to the general public. Even little Jimmy's parents may wish to expose him to these higher echelon musicians by way of encouragement and pointing at his future Goal.. Maybe a Registered Charity will get more attention and Arts Council Funds but they are a special breed who appear to cater for their own elite audiences to the exclusion of the general public who barely know they exist.
A live performance by a World class Musician strutting his stuff on a much needed platform is a truly rewarding experience and implants the wish that one could express emotions through an instrument in a like manner. No music lover can fail to be impressed at the dedication and effort required to reach such a level of Artistry . Yet here we are with an aging audience sitting enraptured by a young musician's performance and yet his contemporaries of the district are absent. It seem that the Music Departments of Schools, independent music teachers. the Arts Committees of Thame, the local Arts and Leisure centre, . the uncooperative media displayers and the inevitably uninformed public will allow such opportunities will to continue to pass them by unheeded. Why are jazz Concerts a Musical triumph yet a Financial Disaster .
Jazz needs an educated ear - are the general public so musically naive that Beethoven and Wagner are tolerable yet jazz is not. Is it lack of exposure from Radio Broadcasts - the new DAB Station theJazz is a welcome source for 24hr Jazz Broadcasting to educate the nations ear.
What a joy to hear the odd Musician Busker in Thame playing an old Melodian. Guitar, Vibraphone, Flute, Hurdy Gurdy or Caribbean Steel Pans to give a hint of the joy of music to a few hurried shoppers who must urgently get enough daily provisions in order to lock themselves away at night in their abodes in front of increasingly mediocre TV Broadcast Entertainment - an anathema which disturbs me. Music Lives and Inspires at street level!
Responses Please - they will be published.
Send mail to
with questions or comments about the design only of this web site.