Being with friendly folk


Roger Cotterrell - Involvement with the National Jazz Archive? For me it’s about being with friendly folk from different backgrounds who are all bitten by the jazz bug – in love with this wonderful music.  And it’s the chance to give something back to jazz by helping to preserve its legacy.

Leafing through the Archive collections leads you to magazines and concert programmes from long ago, and gives a great sense of the continuity in the music over the decades.

Jazz styles have changed and we all have our own preferences, but the Archive gives a sense that, whatever kind of jazz best reaches you emotionally, it is all part of a long, fascinating history. Realising that can make you explore further and appreciate music you did not know about before.

I’ve enjoyed helping with our fund-raising concerts and exhibitions. I got involved with the Archive because a long-time friend, Digby Fairweather, the Archive’s founder, asked me. He knew I had written about jazz in magazines over many years and had helped in jazz-promoting organisations.

My career has been in university teaching and research, but jazz journalism was a side-line for decades. I love writing about the music and the Archive has given opportunities for that, in preparing material for our exhibitions and posters, and for the Newsletter.

Not least, the ‘clear-up’ days when we meet to sort, organise and shelve the acquisitions are hard work but a lot of fun. It’s nice to be doing something ‘hands on’ and making a bit of difference.


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