Back to the Beginning with Bix

Posted on 3rd May 2021 by John Rosie

Roger Cotterrell takes a retrospective look at an evocative and engaging memoir by jazz writer Ralph Berton. It takes real skill and talent to be able to evoke in print a completely vanished social world – like, for example, the so-called ‘jazz age’ in America in the 1920s. For all of us that is just history now and, while historians can tel …

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That's the Noise!

Posted on 13th Feb 2021 by John Rosie

Roger Cotterrell remembers poet, trumpeter and flugelhorn player Shake Keane as the first biography is published about this groundbreaking jazz musician. How many jazz listeners know Shake Keane’s music now? How many even know his name? There is a loyal minority (and not just jazz people but also lovers of Caribbean music traditions, as well as …

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My friend Tony Pitt

Posted on 15th Jan 2021 by John Rosie

Jazz clarinettist, singer and National Jazz Archive Ambassador, Adrian Cox pays a personal tribute to his friend, the jazz guitarist and banjo player Tony Pitt, who has died aged 80. "I have never been asked to write an obituary for anyone and so I was more than honoured to be asked by the National Jazz Archive to write this one for my friend an …

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The Feet-Warming Trumpeter

Posted on 21st Dec 2020 by John Rosie

Following our recent article on the collections of bandleader, writer and trumpet player John Chilton, publisher Ann Cotterrell further reflects on the origins of his love of jazz. What brought you to jazz? Jazz people all have their stories of the sounds, the person, the event or the moment which made them realise that this was their music. Here …

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Discovering the John Chilton Collection

Posted on 22nd Nov 2020 by John Rosie

Nicholas Dunn shares his experiences as a volunteer and takes us through the exciting material held within the John Chilton Collection. My participation in the National Jazz Archive began in November 2019. I had always had a passing interest in music and jazz, and I have a particular interest in history - so much so that my undergraduate universit …

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Ronnie's and me

Posted on 27th Oct 2020 by John Rosie

A fascinating story of the fabled Soho jazz club and review of the latest documentary film 'Ronnie's' by National Jazz Archive Volunteer Mike Rose. At the end of 2018, the Archive received an e-mail from documentary maker, Oliver Murray.  In the e-mail, Oliver explained that he was in the process of 'directing a documentary celebrating the life …

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Goodbye to a star

Posted on 3rd Sep 2020 by John Rosie

A personal tribute by Roger Cotterrell.    My favourite jazz blog is JazzWax. Its author Marc Myers, based in New York, is a music columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I like his weekly blog posts because they fit my preferences in jazz, and he has a special sensitivity to European, especially British musicians and their music. He has often ha …

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Charlie Parker - Myth and mayhem

Posted on 31st Aug 2020 by John Rosie

In celebration of the 100th year since Charlie Parker's birth, National Jazz Archive trustee John Rosie explores Parker’s early life and influences along with the development of bebop music. Often portrayed as a tragic character, this giant of 20th century music is forever linked with the jazz revolution he helped create. Charles Christopher 'C …

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The only really global jazz magazine

Posted on 21st Jul 2020 by John Rosie

Here’s a trivia quiz question. Where was the only genuinely global jazz magazine published? New York? London? Try again. Incredible as it might seem the answer is – Warsaw. Jazz Forum, based there, was the magazine of the International Jazz Federation, set up by an enterprising Polish bass player, Jan Byrczek. In its heyday in the late 1970s J …

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Putting jazz stories into print

Posted on 28th Jun 2020 by John Rosie

There are over 4,500 books in the National Jazz Archive. This shows that any new jazz book faces a lot of competition. When I started to publish books about jazz I was given some good advice by a retired accountant from a publishing firm: ‘publishing is a good way to turn a large fortune into a small one’. There was no large fortune to worry …

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