News from the National Jazz Archive
Newsletter 5/2021, July 2021

Archive open again

Following the relaxation of Covid rules on 19 July the National Jazz Archive continues to welcome visitors to the Archive in person. However,
  •  All visitors are asked to take sensible Covid precautions including observing social distancing guidelines and regular sanitising;
  • The Archive reserves the right to limit the number of visitors to the Archive room at any one time to mitigate the risk of Covid spread.
Anyone planning to visit is therefore asked to let us know in advance so the risk of overcrowding can be avoided by contacting our research archivist David Nathan – phone 020 8502 4701 during opening hours, or email 

The Lost Tapes: jazz giants return to air in unearthed interview tapes

Jazz FM is to broadcast a three-part series of interviews with jazz giants Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan and Art Blakey that were recorded by the late journalist Les Tomkins and that are now held by the National Jazz Archive.

Hosted by Helen Mayhew, these three hour-long programmes will feature the highlights of many hours of interviews, beginning on Sunday 25 July with Art Blakey, followed by Oscar Peterson on Sunday 1 August, and Sarah Vaughan on Sunday 8 August. Each programme begins at 9pm

Before his death last year, Les Tomkins bequeathed his remarkable library of recordings to the National Jazz Archive. He regularly interviewed jazz musicians when they played in London and published articles and features in Jazz News, Crescendo and Melody Maker from the 1950s, based on these recordings. Many of Les Tomkins’ interviews with jazz greats that were published in Crescendo can be read on the Archive's website.

Paul Kaufman, Chair of Trustees at the National Jazz Archive, says of the series and partnership: “The National Jazz Archive was bowled over to be gifted this treasure trove by Les Tomkins. We are delighted to have forged a partnership with Jazz FM, and for the opportunity this provides to share this amazing slice of jazz heritage with jazz lovers everywhere.”

Jazz FM’s Content Director Nick Pitts says: “The programme will just scratch the surface of these extensive interviews in amongst so many more in the National Jazz Archive but I’m hoping that our audience of inquisitive jazz hungry lovers will find this as fascinating as I will.  I’m grateful to the Archive for partnering with us on this landmark opportunity to shed some intimate light on these great names.”

Darius Brubeck Quartet – 18 September

At the time of writing, the Archive’s first fundraising concert this year planned for 18 September is still expected to go ahead, with the Darius Brubeck Quartet celebrating the music of Dave Brubeck. With Darius on piano will be Dave O’Higgins on sax, Matt Ridley on bass and Wesley Gibbens on drums. The group were scheduled to play for us last April so we are delighted to welcome them again, after such a difficult time. The venue will be Loughton Methodist Church, close to the home of the National Jazz Archive.

The event will be held strictly in accordance with Government guidance and regulations. Tickets will be available to purchase in August. 

James Pearson celebrates Cole Porter, 6 November 

Our next fundraising concert is planned for 6 November at Loughton Methodist Church, close to the National Jazz Archive, when James Pearson will be celebrating the music of Cole Porter. More details to follow soon.

The photo above, by Brian O’Connor, is James Pearson, with drummer Chris Higginbottom, when he played a fundraiser for the Archive in February 2019.

Top 10 most asked questions about jazz – Parts 2 and 3

The second and third parts of our series of the most commonly asked questions about jazz have now been published on our website.

The series aims to help newcomers to jazz by providing introductory information in one place, addressing questions about jazz history, its most famous and significant artists, the development of its various forms, and its cultural impact.

The questions covered in these articles are:
•    How did jazz influence popular culture?
•    Who is the most influential jazz artist?
•    What is jazz dance?
•    What are the different jazz styles?
•    Where does the name jazz come from?

As well as looking through these popular questions and answers, we hope you’ll explore the online resources on our website, including our popular jazz timeline.

Whether you are researching jazz or are a new enthusiast wanting to know more, we hope you’ll enjoy learning about jazz and its rich history.

The image above is from the April 1935 issue of Swing Music, digitised and held at the National Jazz Archive.

Adrian Cox’s Profoundly Blue tribute to Edmond Hall

The Bear Club in Luton presents a new concert film starring the Adrian Cox Quartet, Profoundly Blue, which digs into the life and music of clarinettist and composer Edmond Hall, a seminal figure in the history of jazz, and Cox’s personal passion project. Adrian is an Ambassador for the Archive and played this show as a fundraiser for the Archive in September 2019. 

This 50-minute film of a concert celebrates the music as well as the Bear Club. It’s available to view until the end of July for £10 – more information is here.

Ace of Clubs: a celebration of the 100 Club

During its 80 years under London’s legendary Oxford Street everyone from Louis Armstrong to the Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols and Chuck Berry has played the historic 100 Club.

This new book, edited by Digby Fairweather and with a foreword by Jools Holland, tells the club’s story in the words of the people who came to play, work, dance or just listen to the music. It includes fascinating contributions by owner Jeff Horton along with many well-known musicians.

Illustrated in colour, this is the first comprehensive story of one of the world’s longest-running clubs, its history and its transformation into the greatest grass-roots music venue in the UK.

This limited edition book has been prepared by the National Jazz Centre where copies can be bought for £12.95 plus postage.

Redevelopment of Loughton Library

The current Library in Loughton, Essex – home to the National Jazz Archive – dates from the mid-1970s and will soon require extensive maintenance to extend its life and ensure it remains suitable for future use.

While the current Library has a large floor area, the design doesn’t allow for efficient use of space. Essex Housing plans to redevelop the library, incorporating residential development on the upper floors, and library and community space on the ground floor, which will include the National Jazz Archive.

There will be an exhibition of the proposals in The Space (within the Library) on Thursday 22 July, 3–7pm, and on Saturday 24 July, 11am–2pm. Detailed information is also on the consultation website and feedback is invited to improve the designs to better serve the community. The consultation ends on 1 August.

Jazz book sale update

Several more significant donations of books on jazz have been made to the Archive in recent weeks so these are being assessed and sorted at the moment. It’s hoped to include another jazz book sale leaflet in the August newsletter.  
The National Jazz Archive was founded by trumpeter Digby Fairweather in 1988 and is supported by Essex County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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