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Response: Bill Wells

I recently posted regarding an interview in The Guardian with Bill Wells. Mr Wells didn't like what I'd posted, so in the interests of balancing things out and allowing everyone to have their say, particularly in regard to criticism, here is his response to that post. Thank you for taking the time to respond! Feedback and discussion is always good.

"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?"

    [Bill Wells, August 2011]


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