Bad news 1
Demonstrations and petitions in London not against a war with Iraq but proposals for regulating live music, currently under discussion in Parliament
There have been all kinds of rumours (the new laws will affect carol services, school concerts, music shops, charity events, weddings etc.)
The reality seems to be that small-scale music making, if unlicensed, could well be criminalised
Material losers from such new legislation will be musicians, and all those people organising live music on a local (and probably voluntary) basis - not just jazz but everything from chamber music to folk
And of course the audience: all those people who enjoy listening to music-making in informal and inexpensive ways
Protest over the licensing proposals has so far been led by the Musicians Union, which has been unjustly accused by the Government of 'scaremongering' and spreading disinformation
To the barricades!
Bad News 2
The tsunami continues to sweep across the jazz scene with the disastrous news that financial pressures are forcing the Pizza Express group of restaurants, leading patron of small-scale live jazz in the UK, to undergo de-jazzification
Local branches which gave regular employment to gigging duos will stop
At the prestigious Music Room at Maidstone's Pizza Express the programme booked to end March will be honoured after which bookings will be trimmed to 'bankers' (artists who have traditionally filled the room to capacity)
Everything else will go, including the services of programmer Peter Done, who built up the club into one of the most respected jazz venues outside London
And the fate of the jewel in the crown, Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho's Dean Street, established by enigmatic manager/programmer Peter Wallis as a rival to Ronnie Scott's club, remains to be announced
Watch this space!
What's new pussycats
Christian McBride at the Jazz Café (27th) Maceo Parker in concert at the Barbican (26th), Stacey Kent treats Boxford's Fleece on Feb 7th
And sensational fadoista Mariza, hailed by the media as destined to become one of the world's great diva, commences a 9-concert UK tour at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music
Esteemed movie composer Michael Nyman meets the Indian masters in the HSBC Indo-British award concert at the Royal Festival Hall in 'Sangam: Collusion or Collision' (20th).
Start of the season at Cheltenham
The UK jazz festival season kicks in at Cheltenham (April 30th - My 6th) with headliners Michael Brecker, Jazz Jamaica All-Stars, Uri Caine, Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Tomasz Stanko, Taraf des Haidouks, and Otis Grand with Bobby Parker in the American Festival of the Blues show, plus New Orleans alto player Donald ('Indian Blues') Harrison teamed up with leading British tenorman Denys Baptiste in a newly commissioned work built round Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech
Artistic Director Tony Dudley-Evans has transformed the festival into a major jazz event with an enviable reputation for innovation and creativity (festival info
Jazzin' round the London clubs
bad news (see above) Pizza Express Jazz Club presents its usual strong programme: innovative pianists Jason Moran (3rd/4th), Blue Note artist Caecilie Norby (6th - 9th), Don Braden with the Julian Joseph trio: Julian, Orlando Le Fleming (bass) and Mark Mondesir (drums) (12th - 16th):: Jonathan Abbott ::
Pizza on the Park offers Trudy Kerr singing with no less than the Frank Griffith Nonet, which includes in its ranks fellow countryman Bob Martin on alto, and the redoubtable Tom Cawley on piano (12th)
Tom also appears at Chelsea's 606 Club (18th) followed by another of Dave O'Higgins's favourite pianists, Jim Watson (24th)
New jazz collective F-ire sets the Vortex ablaze (12th)
And top jazz for free - catch Gary Crosby's Nu Troop with some blinding young musicians (Soweto Kinch, Robert Mitchell) in a commuter jazz session in the Festival Hall foyer (7th)
Read all about it
Paul Pace, manager of one of London's remaining jazz record shops, Ray's, reborn as a shop-within-a-shop on the first floor of another London landmark establishment, Foyle's Bookshop 113 -119 Charing Cross Road, has now introduced regular jazz appreciation session plus jazz book launches: next of these is on Feb
6th when veteran bassist Coleridge Goode signs copies of his long-awaited biography 'Bass Lines: a Life in Jazz'
Out-of-town gigs worth catching
Multi-faceted trumpet/flugel maven Henry Lowther has teamed up with Jim Mullen's quartet to take some quality jazz to the harbour Jazz Club, Ramsgate (4th) Castle, Wellingborough (13th) eagle Rochester (16th) and Wakefield Jazz (28th)
In Birmingham the CBSO Centre presents Tim Garland with the Dean Street Underground Orchestra, featuring Kenny Wheeler, Geoff Keezer and Jeff Ballard (8th)
Sell-out guitar maestro Antonio Forcione brings his exotic group (it includes charismatic Jenny Adejayan on cello) to Wavendon's Stables Theatre (9th) followed by funk giant Maceo Parker (27th)
Toots Thielemans protégé Julian Jackson bring his harmonica with the Tim Lapthorne trio to Chatham's Brook Theatre as part of their Jazz Base series (16th): NYJO (National Youth Jazz Orchestra) play Dorking Halls (21st) whilst the Scottish counterparts, the Scottish Youth jazz orche of Scotland, appear at Aberdeen's Lemon Tree on Feb
Tours of note
A terrific double bill, 'Double Helix', featuring two groundbreaking groups, Annie Whitehead's Northern Lights and Tom Bancroft's Trio AAB, launches its UK tour at the Union Chapel (21st) and the Contemporary Music Network (CMN) the magnificent 25-piece Dedication Orchestra formed 10 years ago to celebrate the music of legendary South African jazzman Chris MacGregor and his colleagues-in-exile - Mongezi Teza, Harry Miller, Dudu Pukwana, Johnny Dyanis and Nick Moyaka - perform a newly arranged suite of music 'illuminated by the African sun' to commemorate the lasting legacy of those who have gone before (London 10th, Brighton 21st, Basingstoke 22nd, Birmingham 23rd, Kendal 24th, Poole 27th)
What's in store for March - and beyond
Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Kenny Drew, Tuck & Patti, and Zakir Hussein with Bill Laswell.