News from the National Jazz Archive

We have been carefully considering the coronavirus developments and Government advice.

It has been decided with great regret to close the Archive to visitors for the time being. It has also been decided, in the interest of the safety and wellbeing of our patrons and performers, to cancel the Darius Brubeck Quartet fundraising concert arranged for 18 April 2020. This decision is in line with clubs, theatres and concert organisers around the country.

We will continue to monitor guidelines and advice. For up-to-date information on Archive opening and activities please check our website or Facebook.

Ticket options

NJA fundraising concerts are a vital source of income to NJA. Every penny raised goes towards our work for the past, present and future of jazz. We therefore ask anyone who has purchased a ticket for the Darius Brubeck Quartet concert on 18 April to consider donating the purchase price to the Archive. 
•    If you wish to make a donation, please confirm by email and indicate if you are eligible for and happy to include a Gift Aid donation;
•    If you seek a refund please email us with details for a bank transfer.

Our email address is 

Our thoughts are with everyone, not least musicians, who are struggling in these exceptional times. 

The NJA Trustees
Friday 20 March 2020

Simon Spillett Quartet – power and passion

Roger Cotterrell reviews the NJA's February fundraising concert.

Simon Spillett made a welcome return to Loughton to play a ‘Tribute to Tubby Hayes’ on 15 February with his illustrious quartet of pianist Rob Barron, bassist Alec Dankworth and drummer Clark Tracey. In one sense, most of Simon’s appearances are in tribute to Tubby, if only because he never fails to present music that, individual and personal as it is, captures all the virtuosity, excitement and full-on swing of Hayes’s hard bop idiom. 

The sheer power of Spillett’s tenor sax was evident on up-tempo tunes, including a roaring, finger-busting version of Victor Feldman’s ‘Seven Steps for Heaven’, and Jerome Kern’s ‘Nobody Else but Me’. ‘Opus Ocean’, written by Clark Terry for Hayes’ first recording session in the US, featured a furious tenor workout at breakneck tempo. But, immediately after, the group eased things down with the bluesy, soulful ‘Grits, Beans and Greens’, a tune from Tubby’s ‘lost’ 1969 album, released only last year. And Barron’s reflective, inventive playing was especially impressive on the medium tempo ‘Alone Together’. 

The whole band, dapper in dark suits, ‘sharp as a tack’ (as Spillett once described Hayes’ band), treated the capacity crowd at the Methodist Church to a beautifully planned musical programme, spiced with Simon’s well-judged anecdotes, jokes and bits of Hayes history – culled from the great fund of knowledge that informs his now classic Tubby biography. 

He keeps very busy playing one-nighters around the country, gigs with his own quartet and big band concerts. Everywhere he performs, he gives full value for money and certainly left the Loughton audience happy. Along with all the excitement, some of the best moments came when the group relaxed on a couple of ballads, the pretty ‘Souriya’ which Tubby wrote for his second wife, and above all, a gorgeous ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’, full of soaring phrases and heart-felt lyricism. An afternoon to remember, indeed.

Thanks to Brian O'Connor ( for his photos of the concert.

Music journalist and writer Chris Welch also reviewed the concert, and his review – ‘Honouring Tubby Hayes’ – is on his blog 'The Raver’s Return'.

As well as a great afternoon of music, a raffle, a sale of jazz books, CDs and refreshments contributed to a highly successful fundraising event for the Archive, with over £2400 raised.

100 years of Bird – 18 July

Charlie Parker – also known as ‘Yardbird’ or ‘Bird’ – was born 100 years ago, on 29 August 1920. He was the leading figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz in the 1940s, and the Archive will be marking his centenary with a fundraising concert in Loughton on 18 July. 

Martin Speake and Simon Purcell will lead a quartet with Calum Gourlay on bass and Matt Fishwick on drums to play some of the classic tunes made famous by Parker.

Tickets can be ordered here.

It is possible that the coronavirus outbreak will cause this concert to be cancelled, in which case, information will be given in this newsletter, the NJA website and Facebook page. In the meantime, please keep the date free.

Thank you Waitrose!

Waitrose supermarket in Buckhurst Hill, just a short distance from the Archive in Loughton, has selected the NJA as one of its three ‘Community Matters’ partners for March. So if you live within reach of the store, you can vote for the Archive with tokens from the checkout to decide how the monthly allocation of £1000 is to be divided between the three charities this month.
The National Jazz Archive was founded by trumpeter Digby Fairweather in 1988 and is supported by Essex County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Heritage Lottery Fund logo
Copyright © 2020 National Jazz Archive, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp