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The Scottish Jazz Awards

The first ever Scottish Jazz Awards were held tonight at the Tron Theatre in association with the Glasgow Jazz Festival and Jazz International. The presenter was Stephen Duffy, the host of Radio Scotland's The Jazz House, with host trio Brian Kellock, Euan Burton and Alyn Cosker. The trio were joined, on separate occasions, by Carol Kidd (vocals) and Bobby Wellins (tenor sax).

It was an entertaining evening, and I'd say the audience were pretty well lubricated! Most of the audience (or so I got the impression) was invited - there appeared to be only a very small handful of the general public there. This did create rather an impression of "us and them", which I'm sure wasn't intentional, but it has been noted that the Glasgow and the Scottish jazz scene can at times seem a bit cliqué-y (unintentionally) because it's not all that big. Anyway, this was a shame, since four of the awards had been voted for by the general public. Perhaps it could be better publicised next year.

I can't remember all of the results, but here are some that I do.

Best Brass Player: Ryan Quigley
Best Woodwind Player: Tommy Smith
Best Vocalist: Fiona Duncan (who has been ill, but I hear is recovering well - a speedy recoery to her!)
Best Band:Ken Mathieson's Classic Jazz Orchestra
Best Album: Carol Kidd (I can't remember which album, sorry!)
Best Venue: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
Best Bass Player: Aidan O'Donnell
Best Big Band: The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
Lifetime Achievement Award: Bobby Wellins

As it turns out, none of the ones I voted for won! Oh well *g*.

The Tron was a nice venue - I hadn't been before. Shame it's in such a seedy part of town. The further east of Central Station you get, the more unpleasant Argyle Street becomes. I was leered at by the obligatory old drunk man on the way there - typical. No trouble getting home (on the train tonight), but I'm more wary of Saturday night coming, where Paul Towndrow's gig there is on late. I'll be driving for that one - there's an NCP right near by!

Edit (23.06.09): as Paul points out below, the awards were generally either voted for by the public or by a blind listening panel of well respected persons in the relevant category, most of whom are not part of the Scottish jazz scene. Furthermore, entries in most categories were self-nominated. These factors make any kind of bias or favouritism in the awards highly unlikely.


( 30 comments — Comment )
Jun. 23rd, 2009 08:27 am (UTC)
Scottish Jazz Awards
I am afraid that it was a case of the usual suspects picking up the gongs. Stephen Duffy stated that the cream of the Scottish jazz scene was in attendance. This, of course, was a lie.

Most of the finest jazz musicians in Scotland are not admitted into the enchanted circle dominated by the Rae family and its current titular dynamo, the immensely smug and self-satisfied Cathie Rae. Ms Rae oragnzies festivals, farms out gigs and disburses public funds to..er...some people who are rather well known to her.

The stranglehold that a few largely untalented people have over the scene is killing jazz in Scotland. Many musicians (most of whom could knock the SJA nominees into a cocked hat in terms of quality) have known it for years and it is time that one of our music journalists stopped conspiring with the lies that there has been a 'renaissance' in recent years.

Jun. 23rd, 2009 09:37 am (UTC)
Re: Scottish Jazz Awards
It does go to show that it's often who you know that makes all the difference. As you say, there are a lot of good players in Scotland that don't get much attention, whether they chose that to be the case or not. I would say that those present, whether or not they were the "cream of Scottish jazz," were the names that are most well known.

I find it hard to believe that any exclusionism (s that even a word?) is deliberate though - I think it's very easy to fall into such a situation. It's difficult to say how things could be improved, especially given the relatively small audience for jazz in Scotland (judging by the turnout at most gigs these days).
Re: Scottish Jazz Awards - (Anonymous) - Jun. 23rd, 2009 10:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Scottish Jazz Awards - euphbass - Jun. 23rd, 2009 11:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Scottish Jazz Awards - (Anonymous) - Jun. 23rd, 2009 12:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Scottish Jazz Awards - euphbass - Jun. 23rd, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Scottish Jazz Awards - (Anonymous) - Jun. 26th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Scottish Jazz Awards - (Anonymous) - Jun. 27th, 2009 11:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 23rd, 2009 10:35 am (UTC)
I know very little about the Scottish Jazz scene, but I think clique-y ness is endemic in close-knit Scottish music scenes anyway - or I certainly think it is in Folk. Celtic Connections has been promoting the same tired old faces for years and years now, and I get the feeling that all the Peruvian nose flute bands are just there to fill time until Eddie Reader shows up. Certainly the make-up of people who participate in the Festival Club hasn't seemed to change much since my own very brief stint as a Connections act over ten years ago.

Jun. 23rd, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
In any scene, I suspect it's something of a self-perpetuating loop. Once you become well known, you automatically get asked back to things because you're known. And so it goes for years.

Which, of course, is not to say that well known people are not extremely talented. It perhaps just makes seem a bit harder for an unknown face to break into the scene.
SJA - (Anonymous) - Jun. 23rd, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: SJA - euphbass - Jun. 23rd, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 25th, 2009 08:31 am (UTC)
What a fascinating exchange you provoked!

Personally, I can't stick Fionna Duncan's singing. But that's just me...
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Each to their own taste! Personally, I'm not particularly familiar with the style of any of the singers - I'm not as into vocal jazz.
Jun. 25th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Scottish jazz awards
To "anonymous" - If there are so many musicians who could "knock the SJA nominees into a cocked hat in terms of quality" surely it would be worth hearing who they are.

Jun. 26th, 2009 09:38 am (UTC)
Re: Scottish jazz awards
And why didn't they enter? It was open to everyone, and was being judged by "blind listening". What's the point of complaining about who won and not taking the opportunity to enter?
Jun. 26th, 2009 10:08 am (UTC)
There isn't a good Jazz singer in Scotland ... PERIOD

None of them have any real soul or blues feel.

Just listen to Lianne Carrol then go and listen to any of the so called Jazz singers in Scotland.

Scottish Jazz Awards ... Scotland is a dot in comparison to the world of Jazz... who cares. Might get you more grant money though if you get an award.
Jun. 27th, 2009 08:18 am (UTC)
Re: Vocalists
You apparently care, or you wouldn't be so vocal in your criticism! Maybe we are a dot in the international world of jazz (although even that is a questionable assertion give some of the talent in the country) but that doesn't matter - as long as those here are enjoying the music and playing the music. Otherwise, we'd all have to go to London or elsewhere to hear jazz, which would be most inconvenient *g*.
Re: Vocalists - (Anonymous) - Jun. 27th, 2009 09:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 28th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Re: Vocalists
No Good Jazz Singers in Scotland? What nonsense. I attended a gig at the Edinburgh Jazz Fest last year, in which Freddie King and Stephen Duffy gave the two the best vocal jazz performances I've ever heard, and I've heard great singers all over the world. I've heard performances by Niki King, Subie Coleman, Tam White and Carol Kidd that will stay with me for the rest of my days. And since when was blues feel a pre-requisite for a jazz singer. Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan managed quite well without that.

I suspect the complainant here has an axe to grind.

Re: Vocalists - (Anonymous) - Jun. 29th, 2009 11:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Vocalists - (Anonymous) - Jun. 29th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Vocalists - (Anonymous) - Jun. 29th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Vocalists - (Anonymous) - Jun. 30th, 2009 09:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 26th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
Updated Jazz Singers
Sorry I forgot to add that no mention of either Tam White or Freddie King! But they are probably not considered 'Jazz'.
Jun. 30th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
Why No Scottish Greats
Why does Jim Mullen never get a mention?

THE best Jazz guitarist to come out of Scotland!
Jun. 30th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
Jim Mullen
Jim Mullen is of course fabulous. But we don't hear about him because he's preferred to be based in London for many years. By the way, he's playing soon in Arbroath, the jazz club at Hospitalfield House, on Saturday 18th July.
Jul. 1st, 2009 10:02 am (UTC)
Re: Jim Mullen
Jim Mullen is, I'm afraid, very seriously ill right now. He was scheduled to appear at the Glasgow Jazz Festival with the BBC Big Band, but he had to withdraw and he was replaced by saxophonist Art Themen.

There are a series of benefit gigs planned for him in London, though as far I as I know nothing yet planned in Scotland. He's a wonderful talent and I hope he gets back into playing health soon.

Re: Jim Mullen - (Anonymous) - Jul. 1st, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Jim Mullen - (Anonymous) - Jul. 8th, 2009 10:29 am (UTC) - Expand
( 30 comments — Comment )


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