#Jazz100: Manchester Jazz Festival weighs in with a ton of hope

This year's Manchester Jazz Festival marks jazz's centenary with a 100 hours of live music. Yet while commemorating 100 years of jazz may seem a decidedly nostalgic step, as Selwyn Harris discovers, those behind the #Jazz100 campaign, such as WorldService Project's Dave Morecroft, are definitely and defiantly looking to the music's future

What is it about jazz and anniversaries? Any excuse for an endless surge of good old media retrospectives, social media postings, extortionately-priced box sets, desperately obscure track releases, not to mention tribute albums and concerts. It might seem that way too with hashtag #Jazz100, a pop-up campaign created to commemorate the centenary of the birth of jazz in 1917. As ambiguous as that date might sound, it's exactly 100 years since the birth of the likes of Ella, Diz and Monk, as well as the first ever jazz-labelled recording release, 'Livery Stable Blues', by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. But instead #Jazz100 has an entirely refreshing outlook on how to celebrate an anniversary. According to them, it's all about the next rather than the previous 100 years. 2017 as year zero. Dave Morecroft (below), the man behind the band WorldService Project and the exciting pan-European tour/festival organizers Match and Fuse, is the mastermind behind #Jazz100, which he emphasises is a 'campaign' rather than a 'project'.

Dave-Morecroft

"Of course, it's fantastic to look at the story so far and how far things have come," he says. "But I think because of the work that I've done ever since I came into this industry I always wanted to look at things very progressively and look to the future and at bringing new audiences to new music, to support new music and creative, innovative musicians from across the UK, Ireland and also Europe. So we had a moment last year when it all just came together and I was thinking, well why don't we talk about the next 100 years of British and Irish jazz? Because the fact of the matter is that the UK and Ireland scene right now is incredibly vibrant and innovative and it's in a really great place. There's a kind of resurgence going on, especially in the last five years or so. What we're trying to do is create a new atmosphere within the industry in this country. So there's an outward-facing side in which we're trying to reclaim or rebrand a word. To most audiences, in fact, there is some jazz that they would like. A lot of the time audiences are going to see jazz, even interacting with jazz groups. Let's talk about Snarky Puppy or The Comet is Coming, Zara McFarlane or Shabaka and the Ancestors, all these very exciting bands right now. They might even be interacting or listening to that music, but just not really aware or labelling it as 'jazz'. And then the inward-facing side is jazz as a sector, as an industry. Jazz has always, at least in this country, been towards the more disparate end of all the cultural sectors. So this is a way to celebrate this new momentum that jazz is finding, but also to look at the narrative of how the next 100 years will unfold."

salon-perdu-by-ShotAway-web

The #Jazz100 mission kicked off in April on International Jazz Day at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, followed up by related events at Glasgow and Love Supreme festivals. There's #jazzvirgins, a ticketing scheme for those who haven't, as yet, popped their jazz cherry, various digital and educational initiatives, as well as collaborations with organisations such as Jazz Promotion Network. Besides London Jazz Festival's 'Next Generation Takes Over' strand in November, #Jazz100 reaches a climax at Manchester Jazz Festival this month with "100 gigs in 100 hours". This includes composer Dave Maric's commission piece 'Decade Zero', that's already been performed by Phronesis/Engines Orchestra (pictured top - photo by Tim Dickeson) at Cheltenham, with a rendition at London's Barbican to follow in November.

"It was really exciting for me to see our three festivals investing in one project," says director Steve Mead of the Manchester Jazz Festival that has one of the most forward-looking, youth-orientated programmes in the country. "I really wanted to capitalise on the #Jazz100 campaign and look at how we could lend our own slant to the initiative. I've always known that the 10-day festival structure and spread of gigs throughout the day has equated to roughly 100 hours of music. We usually present 80-85 bands in each festival, but with some additional venue partners this year and some additional hands-on family morning shows in our Salon Perdu Spiegeltent (pictued above), the total coincidentally came to 98 gigs by the time I finished the programme. It was our way of joining in with the #Jazz100 campaign – the main objective is to get people's attention and encourage them to try something new out of curiosity."

For Dave Morecroft though, "it's as much a social mission as a musical one, which I think is very important to all the musicians that you see paving the way in the UK and Ireland right at this moment. It's a collaborative thing, it's about community, and it's become about politics again. It's all these things, it's not just musical genres and tastes. We all have these common goals, but they're very rarely put under one banner and I think there's a tendency in the UK sometimes for people to very much focus and work on their own goals and work in their corner if you like. But I think together we are stronger and that's something we really want to do, unite the sector. That's when you can take the case to the mainstream media, government or the private sector and that's when you can show something is worth investing in. The message is a bit of a cliché but it is very much relevant to the sector."

As someone directly involved in negotiating collaborations between UK and other European bands for his Match and Fuse festivals and tours, Morecroft seems as good a person as any to ask about the effect of the current Brexit plans and arts funding cuts on this kind of work?

"That picture is increasingly blurring and it seems to change week by week, depending who you listening to. But one thing is cultural initiative. Producers and people who work around culture and who are incredibly passionate about it have always found ways to endure. The mechanisms that they are working with, or trying to promote, survive irrespective of political situations, of administrative difficulties or logistical problems. If you see all the work that's being done by UK members of the EJN (European Jazz Network), of course there'll be things that need to be addressed regarding Brexit and challenges that need to be overcome, but I think the commitment of all of those members of the European Jazz Network, just as an example of cultural producers working at very high levels in their field, all of them remain completely committed to transmitting stuff across borders. It will survive and it will continue and I think that's the positive message that we have to believe and transmit because it's too important not to."

For full details of the Manchester Jazz Festival visit www.manchesterjazz.com

Listen to a podcast with Steve Mead from MJF talking to Nigel Slee from Jazz North

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Szun Waves launch New Hymn To Freedom with live dates

Szun Waves launch New Hymn To Freedom wi…

Electronica jazz trio Szun Waves release their second album, New...

Read More.....
Donny McCaslin’s big Blow set for Scala

Donny McCaslin’s big Blow set for Scala

US saxophonist Donny McCaslin follows the breakthrough success of 2016's...

Read More.....
PRS Foundation Momentum Music Fund now open for applications

PRS Foundation Momentum Music Fund now o…

The PRS Foundation's Momentum Music Fund has helped the likes...

Read More.....
Beats & Pieces Big Band launch Ten with video and tour

Beats & Pieces Big Band launch Ten w…

Manchester's mighty Beats & Pieces Big Band continue their yearlong...

Read More.....
Robert Glasper leads R+R=NOW for stormy Celebrate Brooklyn blow-out

Robert Glasper leads R+R=NOW for stormy …

The history of collectives in jazz are nearly as old...

Read More.....
Are you ready for the Write Stuff? 2018 Applications Now Open

Are you ready for the Write Stuff? 2018 …

Budding music writers listen up! This year's Write Stuff music...

Read More.....
John Coltrane’s The Lost Album: Both Directions at Once hits Top 20 Albums

John Coltrane’s The Lost Album: Both Dir…

Last week's release of John Coltrane's The Lost Album: Both...

Read More.....
Boogie at the Bandstand - Love Supreme's festival within a festival

Boogie at the Bandstand - Love Supreme's…

With an abundance of big names on the larger stages...

Read More.....
Keyon Harrold, Vijay Iyer and EXPO Commissions for 40th Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Fest

Keyon Harrold, Vijay Iyer and EXPO Commi…

The 40th edition of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival...

Read More.....
Roy Carr 1945 – 2018

Roy Carr 1945 – 2018

Doyen of the music press for half a century and...

Read More.....
Pharoah's Prophecies Pave Way For New Wave Of Spiritual Sentinels At This Year's Love Supreme

Pharoah's Prophecies Pave Way For New Wa…

"I've already had my mind blown once today," a geezerish...

Read More.....
Meshell Ndegeocello and The Bad Plus for Innervisions Fest at Under The Bridge

Meshell Ndegeocello and The Bad Plus for…

Chelsea music venue, Under the Bridge, will play host to...

Read More.....
Brockley Beer & Improv Sessions Brew Up New Series

Brockley Beer & Improv Sessions Brew…

Connoisseurs of craft ales and well-crafted extemporisation, rejoice! Another series of...

Read More.....
Archie Shepp, Phronesis, Kandace Springs and Kit Downes added to EFG London Jazz Festival

Archie Shepp, Phronesis, Kandace Springs…

The line-up for this year's EFG London Jazz Festival, which...

Read More.....
Wynton Marsalis Quartet open up to the spirit of Ornette at Barbican

Wynton Marsalis Quartet open up to the s…

Wynton Marsalis is more forward-thinking than he gets credit for...

Read More.....
Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas step up with Sound Prints at the Village vanguard

Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas step up with…

Joe Lovano remarked that "it was the end of an...

Read More.....
Jazz Women celebrated at Jazz Centre UK exhibition

Jazz Women celebrated at Jazz Centre UK …

Southend-on-Sea's Jazz Centre UK presents a major exhibition, Jazz Women...

Read More.....
Boggamasta boogie on down at Brussels Jazz Weekend

Boggamasta boogie on down at Brussels Ja…

The UK equivalent to the Brussels Jazz Weekend would be...

Read More.....
Orphy Robinson gets Gibraltar rocking beyond Borders

Orphy Robinson gets Gibraltar rocking be…

British vibes virtuoso Orphy Robinson is artist-in-residence at the year's...

Read More.....
Vijay Iyer Sextet and Julian Lage jive to Jazz Cafe

Vijay Iyer Sextet and Julian Lage jive t…

Having reopened its doors in January 2016, following a multi-million-pound...

Read More.....
Jon Hiseman 1944-2018

Jon Hiseman 1944-2018

One of the UK's foremost drummers and bandleaders, Jon Hiseman...

Read More.....
Airto Moreira's Afro-Samba Anthems Raise Roof At Ronnie's

Airto Moreira's Afro-Samba Anthems Raise…

  No greater sign of changing times comes than in this...

Read More.....
Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Binker & Moses head to Harrogate

Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Binker & M…

The Harrogate International Festival, which has been running for over...

Read More.....
Voting Now Open for 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Voting Now Open for 2018 Parliamentary J…

Voting is now open for the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards...

Read More.....
Lost John Coltrane Quartet Album surfaces on Impulse!

Lost John Coltrane Quartet Album surface…

A previously unreleased session by the classic John Coltrane Quartet...

Read More.....
Etienne Charles Triumphant At The Tabernacle With Timely Blend Of Defiance And Celebration

Etienne Charles Triumphant At The Tabern…

  This venue has deep historical resonance for black music in...

Read More.....
Jean Toussaint All-Star 6Tet Shine Bright At Ronnie Scott's

Jean Toussaint All-Star 6Tet Shine Brigh…

  'All-star' is a term mostly out of fashion these days...

Read More.....
Horn Doyenne Holsen Hones Minimalist Drones For Hubro Album Launch

Horn Doyenne Holsen Hones Minimalist Dro…

The Norwegian brass-band tradition, which first evolved in that country...

Read More.....
Vandermark and Nilssen-Love Blow Down Brighton's Green Door

Vandermark and Nilssen-Love Blow Down Br…

  The streets of Brighton have been overflowing with music fans...

Read More.....
Tully Takes The Prize To Ronnie's

Tully Takes The Prize To Ronnie's

  What better way to celebrate the conferring of an honour...

Read More.....
Rebirth Of The Cool: Shabaka Hutchings, Thundercat and Nubya Garcia lead a jazz takeover at Field Day

Rebirth Of The Cool: Shabaka Hutchings, …

  After years of going to jazz gigs and being the...

Read More.....
Anthony Braxton's ZIM Sextet go exploring at Cafe OTO

Anthony Braxton's ZIM Sextet go explorin…

  With the death of Cecil Taylor a few weeks ago...

Read More.....
New British Jazz Generation Blasts Bath With Spiritual Baptism

New British Jazz Generation Blasts Bath …

Bath Festival applied radical surgery to their roster of festivals in...

Read More.....
PYJAEN Prosper At Peckham's Ghost Notes

PYJAEN Prosper At Peckham's Ghost Notes

Catching bands at the beginning of their journeys is so often...

Read More.....
Sons of Kemet, Ashley Henry and Yussef Dayes groove at the Great Escape

Sons of Kemet, Ashley Henry and Yussef D…

Since its beginnings in 2006, Brighton's festival of new music...

Read More.....
Zara McFarlane and Jazzmeia Horn among highlights at St Lucia Jazz Fest

Zara McFarlane and Jazzmeia Horn among h…

In recent times this event has had a tenuous relationship...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Brighton Alt Fest returns with typically brilliant and eclectic line-up, ft Peter Brötzmann, Irreversible Entanglem… https://t.co/ChKZ97Eb0N
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@slothracket @ripsawcatfish yeah, we were all getting a little flustered over how the grinding abrasiveness might h… https://t.co/JDa7TYAF5o
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA