THE JAZZ CENTRE UK PRESENT…
Jazz legends Digby Fairweather and Mick Foster have curated an exhibition of paintings, photographs, instruments and memorabilia from The Jazz Centre UK’s collections at Metal’s HQ in Southend, Chalkwell Hall (in Chalkwell Park, Chalkwell Avenue, SS0 8NB) following on from their Jazz Café Stage that was part of Village Green on Saturday 8 July.
The exhibition runs until 1 September 2017. Open every Saturday from 11am till 4pm (or Mon-Fri 10am-4pm by appointment only – 01702 470700).
THE STORY OF THE JAZZ CENTRE (UK)
A recent book (The Evolution of Jazz in Britain ,Catherine Parsonage, Ashgate Publications) has confirmed that jazz in some form has been heard in Britain since 1880! But there has never been a flagship centre for the art form in the UK. So Digby Fairweather and his team of six Trustees – have combined to put this matter to rights, and the result has been the creation of ‘The Jazz Centre UK’ The organization has signed a ten-year agreement with Southend Borough Council to develop the project in the new Beecroft Art Gallery in Victoria Avenue.
The TJC (UK) opened its first department on February 6th 2016 and its collections (so far) include a research facility of books and journals; a small museum (including the collections of the late Humphrey Lyttelton the first piano of Sir John Dankworth and the trumpets of Louis Armstrong and Nat Gonella) and an extensive library of jazz on film. The department enjoys full internet facilities for extended research (with private study carrels for its users) and also celebrates the music with jazz on record, film presentations in our 110-seat cinema (every Saturday at 2pm) , and provides an informal jazz cafe for visitors.
Longer-term however our ambitions extend far more widely. Our department will extend into the lower Atrium of the Beecroft in September 2017 and plans have been proposed for a full Heritage museum, an art gallery, a sound-archive for the music (including recorded jazz on 78, vinyl and CD) and a 200-seat dedicated performance space to be modelled on London’s legendary ‘100 Club’, Britain’s oldest jazz venue which opened as the Feldman Club in l942. Artefacts have been received from the club (via its former director, Roger Horton) and architect’s plans for developing and extending the centre have been drawn up by Robin Crane. The TJC (UK) has now received its first HLF Grant and this will be used for community-based projects (including ‘Have-a-Go workshops, live presentations and jazz exhibitions from September 2016-October 2017). More plans for the future include educational outreach programmes, oral history projects, digitization of our collections – and of course public performance too: anything, in short, which relates to our stated purpose to preserve, promote and celebrate the culture of jazz in all its forms in Britain and beyond. Our distinguished Patrons include Dame Cleo Laine, Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir Van Morrison, Jools Holland, Dan Morgenstern (former Director of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies in New Jersey), Paul Jones, Simon Spillett and Alan Barnes.
The Jazz Centre UKs usual home is at the Beecroft Art Gallery, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS09 6EX, firstname.lastname@example.org
DIGBY FAIRWEATHER – BIOG
Digby Fairweather’s professional jazz career began in l977, and since then has he has recorded prolifically, written several books about jazz, worked in jazz education and broadcast on the subject (for BBC Radio 2/3, Jazz FM and a variety of other stations). After working with all of Britain’s leading Swing players in a variety of ensembles he formed his current band ‘Digby’s Half Dozen’ in l995. With the ‘Half Dozen’ (from 2003-7) he was musical director for blues legend George Melly (recording with Melly, Van Morrison, Jacqui Dankworth, The Swingle Singers and others) and since then has toured with rock icon Paul Jones (Manfred Mann et.al.) as well as soul-legend P.P. Arnold. The ‘Half-Dozen’ celebrated its 20th Anniversary on the road in 2015 with a solo tour of the UK and its eleventh consecutive win in the ‘Top Small Group’ category of the ‘British Jazz Awards’ (2016).
Digby’s awards include BBC Jazz Society ‘Musician of the Year’ (l979);Freedom of London(l992); British Jazz Awards (Trumpet/l992 and Services to Jazz/1993); Benno Haussman Award (Services to Jazz, l993); Freedom of Southend-on-Sea (2000);‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ (Worshipful Company of Musicians, London, 2013); ‘British Jazz Award/’Services to Jazz’ 2016.
MICK FOSTER – BIOG
Mick’s formidable CV includes everyone from The London Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra to Dame Cleo Laine, Jacqui Dankworth and ‘Swing Out Sister’. As a respected composer his music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3; as an educator he teaches jazz at Trinity Laban and Guildhall School of Music and Drama and you may also have spotted him in recent editions of ‘Downton Abbey’! Jazz critic Art Napoleon dubs Mick: ’The greatest all-round saxophonist in the UK’.