Jazz is not dead- it just smells funny.


This is my first musical musings post on this blog and, to be honest, I was considering deleting this as a category. The truth is I don’t have a lot to say about music these days.

I don’t know how it has come to this, but I don’t give myself the time to “listen” to music these days. By “listen” I mean sitting down, closing my eyes and just listening to music, like I did in days gone by. I hear plenty of music and I use blip.fm for nostalgic forays into my musical past, but the adventurous spirit of discovery has largely disappeared. I have discovered some great soul music via my son’s radio show but that is about the extent of it. It is as though my musical self is as dusty and disconnected as the turntable in the spare room.

I have not been to a concert (sorry, “gig” ) for sometime either. Last one was over a year ago- The Roundhouse Zappa festival. It was a great weekend of music, but known and familiar. Not adventurous (for me) at all.

I suspect that some of my new found musical conservatism comes from reactions to my earlier musical discoveries was negative and dismissive. This was in the days before social media; now you can find kindred spirits across the world for any music you like. Then, it was difficult to find people I could share my interests in Zappa, Beefheart, Mike Westbrook, Eric Dolphy, Gong, Henry Cow………

But, despite the massive choice of media, I actually find it more difficult to discover new musics. 1) there is too much, unmediated, choice 2) there is too much which, at best is mediocre and 3) when I see a concert I would like to go to, it is either in a stuffy, inappropriate venue- The Assembly Rooms in Derby will never be a good venue for ,say, jazz- or too expensive to take a punt.

I have been planning to drag myself out of this musical lethargy for some time now but,well, lethargy is lethargy….But I have been prompted to try again following an announcement today of a new series of gigs being planned in Derby…

Corey Mwamba has announced a series of monthly gigs of new and original music, starting in March 2012 at the Flowerpot , Derby. Named One Note Sunday, four gigs have already been arranged and, if successful could become a regular part of the Derby music scene.

When Corey asked on twitter for suggestions for artists I immediately thought of an old musical friend- out of touch due to the aforementioned lethargy- Walt Shaw.  Shortly afterwards- and by coincidence – I find out that Walt is booked for April.

I like the idea of One Note Sunday for a variety of reasons. The venue is right. The Flowerpot is not only a good small venue but an excellent real ale pub. It is exactly the right sort of laid back venue for free/original music. The price is right. You can pay £5, £10, £20 or £50. So if you are relatively well off and see yourself as a sponsor of new music, you could put in £50. On the otherhand, if you are not sure what you might be getting, you can pay £5.00 (less than the price of a couple of pints of beer in most pubs in Derby) and, if you don’t like it, you can adjourn to the pub!

Derby was at various times a thriving place for music. The old “Lord Nelson”- under the stewardship of Paul Needham- used to have live music- mainly blues- 5 nights a week. Derby was once described as the Cajun music capital of the UK by the Guardian. The Victoria inn was the starting place for many metal and punk bands….

It is great to see that the Victoria Inn is now back up and running and is again a music venue. More and more pubs are featuring local musicians and it is possible that we are seeing a revival of the live music scene in Derby.

It is particularly exciting though to see a  new venture like One Note Sunday starting up outside of the concrete blocks of municipal venues. This has to draw me out of my lethargy. I will share my discoveries with you- find out more about the musicians featuring in One Note Sunday, maybe try and get to some other venues too.

It is an obvious truth, but one we ignore so often. If you don’t use it, you lose it. We have seen this in our town centres and the disappearance of independent record and bookshops. There seems to be a resurgence of music venues in Derby.  Let’s try and keep our music varied, available and live.

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