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Is live jazz thriving or dying in your city?


The Wind

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How is the live scene in your city?

 

I am up in Vancouver Canada and it's getting real bad. The last proper jazz club, the Cellar is shutting down after 13 years.

And in the past few years several restaurants with regular jazz have closed and rebranded.

 

Seems like the only time jazz is popular is during the annual festival in summer.

 

I often go down to Seattle to catch shows simply because the big name acts won't come here.

 

Now most local pros are reduced to playing at small cafes/pubs where you "pass the hat".

 

New York seems to be thriving still. Would like to hear how other places are.

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Most of the traditional jazz clubs closed during the last 2-3 years here in Athens. Mostly, places where local groups were playing and gaining experience/audience. There are some yet, but it's harder to get a gig there - if you are local. And we're talking about a 5 million city, not a village. On the other hand jazz musicians/groups find ways to perform: cafes, small bars, everywhere when a small PA can be set.
Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Maybe in our hearts, but jazz to me is not, and has not done well with the common man ( Elvis Presley- Kate Perry Neil Diamond- Lady whomever ) maybe ever, or since before I was born.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Although St. Louis has a thriving pop/rock live music scene, I'm sorry to say Jazz seems to be fizzling out. Best you can hope for is a solo, duo or trio in a restaurant. Unfortunately a lot of it is backing tracks, which to me just isn't jazz. There used to be a great place for Jazz just blocks from my house. They closed and the new place doesn't do it anymore.

 

Now it depends on your definition of jazz. If you lean more towards blues, there's a ton, and I mean a ton of Blues bars. Also some Dixieland, which doesn't float my boat so much.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I'm talking straight ahead contemporary jazz, not blues or any other variation.

 

Interesting about Athens. Would be curious to see how it is doing in Europe. I lived in London about 10 yrs ago and they had Ronnie Scotts and some other venues that would feature jazz. But still less than what I thought for a major urban city.

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Europe is in the middle of a crisis right now. Paris -which i know pretty well- has some jazz clubs, but not too many for a 10 million city. I think London is not too far away from this. The "pure jazz" audience is small, and it's getting smaller as time goes by. Most people are into blues/soul/swing/singers songwriters-the fan part is that most of them believe that this is "jazz" when there's a blues scale impro, or a horn section on stage. Straight ahead contemporary jazz is harder to find these days. Most of my jazz friends are happy to get a hotel gig or a trio gig with 50, 60 euros per person...
Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Not aware of any jazz venue in or around Perth (population 50,000 ish) - Dundee twenty or so miles down the river has a session on (occasionally) - just Sunday afternoon brunch lunch dunch type tunes.

 

Edinburgh, Glasgow (and Aberdeen) - some gigs to be had.

 

The Yellowjackets played our concert hall here recently (nice venue btw) - they ended up giving tickets away.

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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Report from Rome, Italy: A disaster.

Jazz used to be quite big in Italy, and Rome has always been of the centers of activity.

Today, only *one* of the 6-7 historical clubs survives, and even that one is being brought down by horrible mismanagement.

We used to have *two* of the biggest festivals in central Italy - but last year, Villa Celimontana, a huge event lasting the whole summer, has been shut up completely.

The economic crisis, which is hitting with full force, has led to erase most high-level musical events.

 

Some positive notes: There seems to be some kind of renewed energy to present jazz concerts in the last year. One of the clubs, for example, has recently acquired a good piano. The other side of the coin is that gigs are generally paid a third of what they used to be 10 years ago.

AND we still have Casa Del Jazz (House of Jazz), a fantastic venue, ideal for both the musician and the listener. Funds to mantain it, however, are less and less, and it is in constant danger of closing.

 

 

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I always thought the festival scene in Europe was strong. the UK, Italy, Germany, France all host like 5-15.

 

But I guess the club scene is dying down. People either aren't interested or don't feel like paying.

 

I remember watching Branford Marsalis in London at the Royal Festival Hall. It's a venue that seats over 2000 and there were barely 200 people there. This was 10 yrs ago when he was still a big name, having played with Sting, on the Jay Leno Show. Very strange feeling. but they played their a*s off.

 

I saw Esperanza Spalding this summer in my city, packed crowd. it was during the festival so I think that helped with marketing, drawing attention...

 

 

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Summer festivals are going mostly well. But jazz clubs are dying. The difference is that people in festivals have a good time regardless of the music, where in clubs only the most dedicated purists are having a good time.
Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Chicago is doing quite well. Numerous place to catch jazz, The Jazz Showcase and Green Mill of course. There are quite a few places some are not exclusively jazz but will mix it up a bit to attract a bigger crowd. There's The City Winery, Space, The Elbo Room. It's actually remarkable when you think about it. Also several restaurants feature Jazz groups for the dinner crowd.

 

Musicale

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Here in Durham NC it's better than many cities, I think. North Carolina Central U has a great jazz program that draws talent and keeps local interest up. Plus there's at least one world-class jazz player who lives here and often shows up and sits in with others. (Luckily I have a friend who's a friend so I often get a warning.)

 

But ... it's still jazz. It's not thriving the way thriving should look. Jazz acts still get paid a pittance, unless it's a private party (which I wouldn't know how much they get, but I hope it's at least in line with the rest of the country.) And we're not New York or Chicago or LA, so we don't have a steady stream of world-class acts, or the greatest venues for bands to play in.

 

All in all, I'd say we're on par with the better U towns, but not in the top tier in general. I like jazz but my wife's not a fan, so I don't catch nearly as many acts as I'd like.

 

I suspect that if I asked my friends who are players, they'd say that Durham is still OK, but it's going down more than up even here.

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Longtime LA residents seem to feel otherwise, but I find the Jazz/Fusion/SmoothJazz scene to be very vibrant here. On any given night there is a ton of things going on.

 

But I haven't been here that long and my points of reference are the Netherlands and Kenya, so...

 

 

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Here in Durham NC it's better than many cities, I think. North Carolina Central U has a great jazz program that draws talent and keeps local interest up. Plus there's at least one world-class jazz player who lives here and often shows up and sits in with others. (Luckily I have a friend who's a friend so I often get a warning.)

 

But ... it's still jazz. It's not thriving the way thriving should look. Jazz acts still get paid a pittance, unless it's a private party (which I wouldn't know how much they get, but I hope it's at least in line with the rest of the country.) And we're not New York or Chicago or LA, so we don't have a steady stream of world-class acts, or the greatest venues for bands to play in.

 

All in all, I'd say we're on par with the better U towns, but not in the top tier in general. I like jazz but my wife's not a fan, so I don't catch nearly as many acts as I'd like.

 

I suspect that if I asked my friends who are players, they'd say that Durham is still OK, but it's going down more than up even here.

 

Branford? Joey?

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Although St. Louis.
Sorry to hear that. In which case, don't meet me in St Louis, Louie.

 

In all fairness, it's possible that it has moved to other venues I don't know about. I was completely booked up and unable to see any live music for about 6-7 years and the places I caught it prior to that span of time are gone or not doing Jazz. I may have just lost touch with it.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Branford? Joey?
Yeah, they're neighbors. I've met Branford a couple times, have had dinner with his wife and kids, but still haven't seen Joey. My "friends who are players" are guys on the local circuit, like Ben Palmer and his crowd. (Ben hosts the local jazz jam at a favorite venue, great guy, remarkable musician who can hold his own on bass, piano, guitar, or drums. Those guys are way above my skill level, so compared to Branford and Joey I'm a layman.)
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Longtime LA residents seem to feel otherwise, but I find the Jazz/Fusion/SmoothJazz scene to be very vibrant here. On any given night there is a ton of things going on.

 

But I haven't been here that long and my points of reference are the Netherlands and Kenya, so...

 

 

I'm not part of the Jazz scene here, but I would concur that it's also thriving. I know clubs like the Baked Potato are still big jazz haunts here.

Soul, R&B, Pop from Los Angeles

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Thank goodness, another "is jazz dead" thread! It's been at least 3 months since the last one!!

 

I don't think it's doing very well in SF. There was a club in North Beach that had jazz for a long time, not touring acts but good local acts, so in some sense a really good bang for the buck for jazz listeners. It was the sort of place that would be doing well if jazz still had much popularity. It went under a couple years ago.

 

The type of jazz that is doing well is soul-jazz, funk-jazz, whatever you want to call the stuff that's groovy enough to get the 20-somethings shaking their tail feathers. Most of the cats I personally know with jazz skills are doing that. Most of them wish they were working more and could get paid every night for playing swing or bop, but when has that not been the case?

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

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On the LA side, as some have already said, there's lots of stuff going on.

 

From my own experience, I do have a lot of Jazz gigs. 3 this week in fact. But it's probably harder to get the higher paid gigs.

 

In general, I tend to feel that "background music" type of gigs are not thriving in LA (solo piano jazz). The kind of jazz music we play draws in the people to the venue and under that scenario, the venue WILL HIRE YOU BACK. Typically we do Quartets/Quintets, often with vocals.

 

But there are a lot of people in LA that love jazz so the audience is there. They're just not found in the typical expected places.

 

EDIT: ADDITIONAL THOUGHT

 

The people that have loved jazz or listen to jazz records didn't just all die. They're obviously still around. The question is what will get them to come see your band. Now 20 years from now, I may think of this differently, but at the moment, there are huge crowds that see Herbie, KJ, Mehldau and fill large concert halls so the audience exists.

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Peruse the links here:

 

St. Louis Jazz Club

 

and you should get an idea. Not really my bag. The younger cats doing the stuff I enjoyed are the ones that have kind of died out I think. Still a contingent of the older Dixie stuff going on, mostly due to the Jazz club I think.

 

There is a little bit of a swing scene due to places like:

 

Casa Loma Ballroom

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I was living in Oslo for quite a few years. It has a thriving scene with quite a few venues with lots of musicians playing jazz (bop, fusion, soul, funk, nujazz, etc). Lots of really nice venues too (old theatres, pubs, etc). There are also a lot of imports from the rest of Europe and US. There are lots of jazz festivals around too Kongsberg and Oslo.. Molde, Stavanger, etc.

 

But to be honest I think its largely because of the funding from the government (i.e. the oil) without this I don't think it would be anywhere near as big as it is.

 

Have to enjoy it while it lasts I suppose from what I understand there are plenty of people who oppose the amount of spending that goes on the arts here

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Longtime LA residents seem to feel otherwise, but I find the Jazz/Fusion/SmoothJazz scene to be very vibrant here. On any given night there is a ton of things going on.

 

But I haven't been here that long and my points of reference are the Netherlands and Kenya, so...

 

I notice you're posting from Redondo Beach. Where do you find jazz these days around the South Bay? 30 years ago there was Howard Rumsey's Concerts By The Sea, The (original) Lighthouse, Annabelle's, Sausalito South and several others... actually it was a pretty vibrant jazz scene. These days not so much.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Has anyone who lives in L.A. (Jazzwee, Ferris, Dreamchilde, etc.) been to Blue Whale in Little Tokyo?

 

I haven't personally been there but lots of people I know go there. It's known for the being the high-end jam session in town as well (in addition to jazz gigs).

 

The "newer" place here is Vitello's and has some great groups there. Dave Ferris posted one of his gigs there.

 

We lost the big jazz place called the Jazz Bakery in town. But that's temporary as they're building a new place near its original location. Seen lots of major names there. Major but not big enough to fill Disney Hall like Herbie/Wayne Shorter/etc.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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