The All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) was set up by interested Members of Parliament in the UK to promote the use and enjoyment of jazz as a music form. The Group has over one hundred members from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and is jointly chaired by Michael Connarty, MP for Linlithgow and Falkirk East and Lord Tony Colwyn, himself a very fine trumpeter and band leader. Administrative services are provided by Jazz Services.
Michael Connarty recalls: 'The great innovation that started with APPJAG was the introduction of 'live' jazz music in the House of Commons. This started with 'Jazz In The House' which after six years is still held each November in co-operation with Serious and Radio 3 to celebrate the London Jazz Festival. It brings together those working in the industry as promoters and artists and jazz-supporting MPs and Lords, to talk about the ongoing state of the jazz scene, and has live music in the Terrace Pavilion of the House of Commons'.
APPJAG has teamed up with Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), the body responsible for collecting royalties for the playing of auditory recordings, and who sponsor three other events with live music in the commons each year.
Each January, there is a 'Youth Band' event and to date, the event has featured Tomorrow's Warriors with Guy Barker; the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra Octet with Georgie Fame; the TS Scottish Youth Jazz Orchestra Octet with Tommy Smith, the Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra Octet with Dennis Rollins, 'Hot House' (formerly the East Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra - EMYJO) with saxophonist Alan Barnes and in 2014, the North East's jazz ensemble, Jambone, with with their musical director, Skye-based trombonist, composer and arranger Rick Taylor.
In 2015, the guest artist was bass player Dave Holland. Dave has been based in America for some forty years now, but is a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London as well as holding honorary doctorates at Birmingham Conservatoire, Berklee College of Music in Boston, U.S.A. and New England Conservatory. Since his professional debut in the 1960s he has played with a wide range of musicians including Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Hank Jones Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton and Gary Burton.
The young musicians who worked with him were members of the National Youth Jazz Collective, founded in 2006 Issie Barrett and for which Dave Holland is the President. Amongst them was saxophonist Alexander Bone, winner of the first BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award 2014. Click here to watch the final.
NYJC 'supports the creative and educational needs of the young jazz musician. It focuses on small group improvisation and creates a pathway of progression designed to support young jazz musicians from beginner to emerging professionals through a rolling programme of regional activities across England, the National Youth Jazz Summer School, and by supporting the needs of regional educators and music leaders.' The Summer School this year for young people of 14 to 18 years of age will be held at Uppingham School in Rutland from 9th -16th August.
Pictures courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL
Dates for the Summer Short Course will be 15-18th August 2015. Tutors include: NYJC’s Artistic Director and Founding CEO, Issie Barratt with Tori Freestone, Jim Hart, Tom Hewson, Mark Hodgson, Chris Montague, Omar Puente, Nick Smart, Malcolm Earle Smith, Rowland Sutherland, Norma Winstone and Jason Yarde. Click on their website for more details (click here). Click here for a video of Dave Holland talking about NYJC.
The second main live event is the Annual All Parliamentary Jazz Awards. As there is a General Election in May, 2015, the event was held earlier in 2015 - in March.
Now in its eleventh year the Parliamentary Jazz Awards are the premiere awards in the UK jazz calendar and are voted for by the public online with a shortlist of nominations subsequently voted for by a selection panel of jazz industry figures. Judging members of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) then choose the winners. The 2015 awards were sponsored by PPL, were introduced by well-known broadcaster Moira Stuart, and presented by a variety of significant figures, including Dame Cleo Laine, on 10th March. Music was provided by the Ronnie Scott's All Stars.
The award winners were:
Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Norma Winstone MBE
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Laura Jurd
Jazz Album of the Year: Partisans Swamp
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Engines Orchestra
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Peter Edwards
Jazz Venue of the Year: St Ives Jazz Club
Jazz Media Award: London Jazz News
Jazz Education Award: National Youth Jazz Orchestra
Services to Jazz Award: Chris Hodgkins
Special Award: Peter Ind
Moira Stuart, Peter Edwards and Ken Clarke MP
Pictures courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL
Michael Connarty says: 'These awards were a joint inspiration by APPJAG and PPL with the aim of trying to recognise people and categories that were not always on the roster of the Music Industry, like Jazz Education; Jazz Venue; Contribution to Jazz; Newcomer to Watch; Jazz Publication, etc.'
'We ask for nominations from the public through jazz mags; jazz radio, and a wide listening panel draw up a short list from those nominations. Our committee listens in advance, MPs visit venues, and then APPJAG meets and chooses the winners from the shortlists. The event normally takes place in May each year with live music, and a very professional schedule overseen by Moira Stewart (and before her, Paul Gambaccini) whose regular attendance has been funded by PPL.'
In July the Group holds a Summer Jazz Gig where Yamaha sponsors the 'Yamaha Jazz Scholarships'. These Scholarships are awarded annually to final year jazz graduates nominated by the six conservatoires of music in the UK that offer a full-time degree course in jazz. They are prestigious awards for the musicians and a chance for us to take note of exciting and talented young people who we are likely to hear more from in the future.
The scholars each receive a voucher for £1000 to put towards instruments and equipment at Yamaha Music London, plus a chance to record their music at Astar studios for a sampler CD that is included with the December/January issue of Jazzwise magazine. The recording gives the scholars a 'calling card' they can use in their personal publicity. The CD is launched later in the year at London's 606 Club in Chelsea. In July 2014 the awards were presented by Peter Ross from Yamaha and keyboard player and jazz educator Darius Brubeck.
Arun Ghosh Quintet
Picture courtesy of Tim Charles / PPL
The event also featured a set by the award winning clarinettist Arun Ghosh pictured here with a front line of Yazz Ahmed (trumpet) and Chris Williams (saxophone).
The 2014 award winners, and names to look out for in the future, are:
Ashley Henry - (piano) - Leeds College of Music
Mark Lewandowski - (double bass) - Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Ed Haine - (tenor saxophone) - Birmingham Conservatiore
Dan Smith - (alto saxophone) - Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Tom Dennis - (trumpet) - Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Scott Chapman - (drums) - Royal Academy of Music
Utsav Lal (piano) - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Picture courtesy of Tim Charles / PPL
But the Group is involved in more than arranging the events described above. Michael Connarty explains:
'APPJAG has been engaged in the serious business of contributing to government policy, and even European Union policy on matters as diverse as the changes in the Licensing Laws; the funding for Jazz as a music genre; the need for more allocation of time on radio for jazz music, and the campaign to extend the payment time for auditory copyright from its present 50 years to at least 95 years.'
'Apart from meetings with organisations who wish to put their case to APPJAG members, APPJAG members have also undertaken meetings where we have had 'full and frank dialogue' with organisations such as OFCOM on radio licence allocations and the poor coverage of jazz music. Meetings have been held with ministers to which people from the music industry have put the case from the performers' point of view. Meetings have even been held in Brussels with Members of the EU Commission on copyright extension and publicity, and lobby meetings have been held to publicise the justice of the extension campaign in the UK parliament.'
It is possible that many people are unaware of the valuable work being done by APPJAG on behalf of jazz in the UK, and it is reassuring to know that the Group is active and working in support both of the music and of young musicians.
© Sandy Brown Jazz 2008-2015
The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2014
Jazz Vocalist of the Year - Christine Tobin
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year - Arun Ghosh
Jazz Album of the Year - Troykestra ‘Live At Cheltenham 13 Jazz Festival’
Jazz Ensemble of the Year - Beats & Pieces Big Band
Jazz Newcomer of the Year - Phil Meadows
Jazz Venue of the Year - EFG London Jazz Festival
Jazz Media Award - The Jamie Cullum Show
Jazz Education Award - Issie Barratt, National Youth Jazz Collective
Services to Jazz Award - David Redfern
Special Award - Chris Barber
The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2013
Jazz Musician of the Year - Guy Barker
Jazz Album of the Year - John Surman 'Saltash Bells' (ECM) [Click here to sample]
Jazz Ensemble of the Year - Impossible Gentlemen
Live Jazz Award - The Vortex, London
Jazz Journalist of the Year - Rob Adams
Jazz Broadcaster of the Year - Mike Chadwick
Jazz Publication of the Year - Catherine Tackley - 'Benny Goodman's Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert'
Jazz Education Award - Nick Smart (Head of Jazz at Royal Academy of Music)
Services to Jazz Award - Stan Tracey O.B.E.
APPJAG Special Award - Elaine Delmar
The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2011
Jazz Musician of the Year: Brian Kellock.
Jazz Album of the Year: John Turville 'Midas' .
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Brass Jaw
Jazz Promoter/Venue of the Year: The Hideaway (Streatham, London)
Jazz Journalist of the Year: John Fordham
Jazz Broadcaster of the Year: Paul Barnes
Jazz Publication of the Year: 'Goin' Home: The Uncompromising Life and Music of Ken Colyer' by Mike Pointon, Ray Smith, Martin Colyer.
Jazz Education Award: Dr Ian Darrington MBE
Services to Jazz Award: Coleridge Goode
A Special Award was made this year to Dame Cleo Laine.
The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2010
Jazz Musician: Mark Lockheart
Jazz CD: 'No Messin' by the Gareth Lockrane Septet
Jazz Ensemble: the Nigel Price Organ Trio
Jazz Venue: the Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
Jazz Journalist: Mike Flynn
Jazz Broadcaster: Alyn Shipton
Jazz Publication: Jazzwise
Jazz Educator: Dr Kathy Dyson
Services to Jazz: Brian Blane
The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2009:
Jazz Musician of the Year: Phil Robson
Jazz CD of the Year: The Sam Crockatt Quartet 'Howeird'.
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: The Ryan Quigley Sextet
Jazz Venue of the Year: Fleece Jazz (South East England)
Jazz Journalist of the Year: Kevin LeGendre
Jazz Broadcaster of the Year: Sarah Ward
Jazz Publication of the Year: jazzreloaded.com
Jazz Education Award: Richard Michael
Services to Jazz Award: Val Wilmer
50 Years Anniversary Award: Ronnie Scott's Club.
The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2008:
Jazz Musician of the Year: Liane Carroll
Jazz Broadcaster: Helen Mayhew
Jazz Venue: Tithe Barn, Needham, Norfolk
Jazz Educator: Dennis Rollins
Jazz Publication: Jazz UK
Jazz Journalist: John Fordham
Services to Jazz: Paul Pace (of Ray's Jazz)
Jazz CD: The Amadeus Project - Guy Barker
Jazz Ensemble - Empirical
For more about the awards click here.