Jazz promoting seems to have worked its way into my bloodstream – it’s been both huge fun and stomach-churning (‘ten minutes to go and two band members haven’t arrived yet…’), as well as giving me a never-ending supply of characters to write about.
And I don’t only mean the musicians…
It all started in a modest fashion in 1998 – with no little trepidation on my part – and even after all that time I don’t seem to be ready to give it up. I’ve always worked on the basis of booking the best musicians the venue can possibly afford, and as a result I’ve been able to work with some of the top people on the UK jazz scene, including: Ian Shaw, Claire Martin OBE, Joe Stilgoe, Liane Carroll, Alan Barnes, Art Themen, Alec Dankworth, Elaine Delmar, Stan Tracey, Bobby Wellins, Nigel Price, Andy Panayi, David Newton, John Critchenson – it’s a list that goes on and on and I’m still adding to it.
Jazz is a minority music, always has been and probably always will be. As a result the audiences in a small town tend to be made up of the same core of enthusiasts, plus others who might not make a habit of attending but have come for a particular musician. After a while, the ‘regulars’ came to trust my judgement and (bless them) turned up for bands they’d never even heard of, on the basis that if I’d booked them they must be good. I hope I’ve never let them down but I know they would soon let me know if I did!
I hope to see you at a gig sometime soon but if you live too far away maybe this will encourage you to seek out some of these excellent musicians for yourself.
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© 2021 Annette Keen