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Bill Wells

Chip on shoulder, no?

I'm not a pro musician, but I would guess the way to get invited to play jazz gigs involves years of hard work including self-promotion, putting on your own gigs, networking and generally involving yourself as much as possible in the scene, not just waiting for someone to invite you. Judging from this article, Wells seems to focus on other genres a lot more than jazz, where it would seem he's pretty successful, and sincerely, all the best to him in these enterprises.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but a line like, "There are not even that many interesting people up here." (referring to the Scottish jazz scene) does just sound rather petulant!



( 3 comments — Comment )
Jul. 30th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
Bill Wells
Bill Wells here,

I find your apparent assumption that I did not in fact do 'years of hard work etc' and 'just waited for someone to invite me' insulting in the extreme.
Aug. 11th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Bill Wells
Hi Bill - this is merely what the article implied. However, I'd be more than happy to post a response from yourself either to my post of to the original article if you like. If you'd like to write something, post it in a comment here.
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
Bill Wells
Hi, thanks for that, I'm not really sure if I'd totally agree that's what the article implied, but I do appreciate that you posted my comment and encouraged dialogue.

For a start you should realize that the entire focus of my life is on music, and between the years '87 - '97 that involved leading an eight piece band, which I had (rashly) chosen as my medium for expression, in the Scottish Jazz scene.
Anyone who knows me or played in that band can confirm the amount of work and determination that involved.
My general recollection of that time was that, despite making some of the best music of my life with some of the best musicians, it was ultimately a dispiriting and difficult period for me mainly because of the attitude of the one or two promoters who had more or less a monopoly over the scene.

I initially approached Roger Spence of Assembly Direct in '87 asking about a gig and continued to ask him, till eventually, and under pressure from various funding organizations which I had by that time complained to, he gave me one, ten years (!) later in '97, that was the same year that having won an award at the Glasgow Jazz Festival previously in '96, I was informed that would not be invited to play there again the following year.

At that point in time to say I was disheartened would be something of an understatement, I simply felt I could go no further where I was, made a very conscious decision not to be involved with the Scottish Jazz scene any longer and to find other avenues for my music and, looking back, I certainly don't regret that decision.

However I still think that what I do has at least much of it's roots in Jazz and I do often work with some great 'name' Jazz players so,quite recently, just in the past couple of years I have approached eg. Jill Rogers at the Glasgow Jazz Festival and Bill Kyle at the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh but have, despite, the level of success I feel I've achieved, still yet been met with apparent complete indifference by these people.

Does that mean I have a chip on my shoulder about it all ? well ... perhaps it does, but, I mean, given that I spent my whole life in the pursuit of some kind of excellence in making music, who wouldn't resent that kind of continuing blinkered and unsympathetic attitude over the space of nearly 25 years ?

As for the remark about there not being many interesting people, it wasn't petulance, that's just the way I see it, and the main point I was trying to make was that surely someone doing something original should actually be given preference over, as far as being helped, supported and promoted, those who use already existing blueprints to make their music on ?

sincerely yours

Bill Wells
( 3 comments — Comment )


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