Jazz Services rebrands as JazzUK

Jazz Services is now JazzUK and marks its re-emergence with the #4Jazz Festival in Coventry starring Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman

After a restructuring that followed the withdrawal of funds by Arts Council England, the jazz and improvised music charity Jazz Services has re-branded as JazzUK (once the name of the Jazz Services magazine). The new organisation will continue with its aim of supporting jazz and improvised music in a variety of ways. The JazzUK vision is "...to unite the senses and free the spirit with the rich and diverse colours of jazz" with a mission "...to be a progressive organisation that unites the jazz and artistic communities by sharing the power of jazz music and increasing its audiences."

In order to achieve its aims, JazzUK has established a new board under its chairman, Dominic McGonigal (pictured right). The board's vice-chair is James Joseph and members include Brian Blain and Sheela Bates. The organisation has also recruited Heulwen Phillips (pictured below left) as project director: since her appointment six months ago a total of £150,000 has been raised and a series of additional grant applications has been made.

JazzUK has established an ambitious three-year programme of projects. These include the development of jazz and jazz musicians in under-represented areas such as South Cornwall and the Marches and the development of "JazzLabs" to create free jazz events, encourage touring, establish residencies for local talent and develop the skills of promoters. The organisation is also intent on presenting British jazz to the international market, for example through an increased presence at the 2016 JazzAhead! in Bremen.

Another project involves the development of pilot learning and participation improvisation programmes, the first of which will be in Coventry and Bournemouth in conjunction with the cities’ local music education hubs. These will provide opportunities for young people and those not in education, employment or training (so-called NEETS) to get involved with jazz and improvised music and to learn from, be inspired by and perform with a range of professional performers.

JazzUK's new model of work aims to diversify its income, with grants from trusts and foundations, individual giving, sponsorship and statutory bodies. Funding has already been secured from all of these streams, including donations by Garfield Weston, Ernest Cook, PRS for Music Foundation, Arts Council England, Youth Music and Medwell Hyde. Donations from individuals have been made via the new Individual Giving structure. This includes an Ambassador tier: Roger Medwell of Medwell Hyde has become JazzUK’s first Ambassador.

Of particular and immediate interest to jazz fans is the #4Jazz Festival, scheduled to take place in Coventry on 28 November. The festival has been developed by JazzUK in partnership with 15 local organisations. Sponsorship has been secured from Medwell Hyde, a major Coventry business. The full programme has yet to be revealed but Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman (pictured right) have already been announced.

The #4Jazz Festival will include jazz in many forms from free improv to gypsy jazz and electronica, jazz for children, in street theatre and carnival presentations, and in beautiful settings such as the 12th century Old Grammar School and the contemporary space of the Herbert Gallery & Museum. JazzUK has also announced that it hopes to contribute to Coventry's bid for UK City Of Culture 2021.

Bruce Lindsay

post a comment