September 2011

From Jim Keppie

"The Edinburgh Jazz Archive Group sends its best wishes and sincere apologies to all interested for the considerable delays we are experiencing in getting the donated (and other) material suitably 'logged', catalogued and placed within the Central Library premises. While this has been largely due to a major restructuring within the Library itself - which continues - we have also had to contend with the unexpected retirement of the Head of the Music Department and other staffing problems.
It is hoped that most of these difficulties can be resolved before the end of the year with access and other arrangements being intimated as soon as possible thereafter. Thanks for your patience!"


July 2010

Launch of the Edinburgh Jazz Archive

The launch of the Edinburgh Jazz Archive at the Central Library during the Edinburgh Jazz Festival under the title "Capital Jazz" was a successful event. Jim Keppie writes:

'There was a goodly attendance of jazz enthusiasts and performers from yesteryear and today to view the assembled material on display covering the approximate period 1945-80. This consisted of explanatory texts, photographs, books, instruments and memorabilia as well as books containing memoirs and profile listings of local performers

Musical support was provided by Ron Carruthers (piano), Tony Howard (guitar), Billy Allison (drums) and John Burgess (reeds) with speeches by Councillor Ron Cairns (Edinburgh City Council), Jim Keppie (EJAG) and Hil Williamson (Edinburgh City Library).

Among those present were Ralph Laing, Mike Hart, Bill Strachan, Drew Landles, Andrew Gilmour, Jim Young, Mike Pollett, Graham Blamire, Jean Mundell, Roger Craik, Winnie Scott (widow of Janol Scott) and Ishbel Semple (widow of John Semple).

December 2009

Jim Keppie tells us that plans are still in hand to establish an Edinburgh Jazz Archive in liaison with the City's Library and Information Service. It is hoped to fund a small exhibition and the opening of the Archive to coincide with the Edinburgh Jazz Festival in July 2010. The Edinburgh Jazz and Archive Group is also looking at funding a website in addition to the cataloguing, storage and display of material.

If anyone is able to contribute material for the Archive or would like more information, please contact or


August 2009

Jim Keppie writes:

"The possibility of a Scottish Jazz Archive, which would involve research facilities provision and the collation of material covering at least the major centres in Scotland, was originally mooted in my letter to the Sandy Brown Jazz Website in April 2008. While this concept has (for practical reasons) had to be shelved, it is hoped that the arrival of one for Edinburgh alone (sizeable enough on its own) may spur jazz enthusiasts in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Inverness and elsewhere to collect and record the evidence of jazz activities in their cities and towns."

"Research having been carried out and with several agencies approached, it can now be reported that Edinburgh Central Library Music Department has kindly agreed to provide the necessary facilities and the EJA (Edinburgh Jazz Archive) is expected to be open before the end of 2009, as a repository of recordings (78's, LP's, CD's), books, journals, photographs and other ephemera relating to what was a particularly unique cultural development in the city, mainly from the the 1940's onwards.That said, it is important that we ensure and record the obvious evidence of local Jazz provision through to the end of the 20th Century and on to the present day and this we would endeavour to do."

"It is planned also that there should be an opening and, possibly, longer-term Exhibition."

"Details regarding the actual opening date of the facility will be made known through the local press as well as John Latham's Sandy Brown Newsletter and the Sandy Brown website and it is hoped that enthusiasts and collectors from the early period onwards will be willing to donate items relating to performances by Edinburgh Jazz Groups and individuals as well as 'texts', photographs and the like (see also above) and, if so, they are invited to contact the Archive Group at or The Group includes Jim Keppie, Donald Murray, Bill Strachan and Drew Landles "

From Jim Keppie, April 2008

"The thinking behind the Scottish Jazz Archive concept stems from discussions by a number of us who came to the opinion that the legacy of the early years of the jazz revival in Edinburgh and Scotland was significant enough to merit the creation of an archive which would hold recordings as well as photographic and written evidence of the approximate period 1945-1960."

"The arrival of the Scottish Jazz Federation seems to provide an ideal vehicle to assist in an archive's creation. This body has, however, only recently been formed and while interested in our approach, has requested that we come back a little later. We are happy to do this, but in the meantime decided it would be sensible to research the period in question and produce a 'text', which could be a book or other form of print based on information culled from appropriate individuals while their memories still function (!). This would of course be in addition to whatever data we can abstract from existing texts and elswhere. We are convinced that there are collectors/enthusiasts from those earlier days who would be pleased to leave their 78s, LPs, CDs and books, photographs and anecdotes to such an archive. Any such resting place would, of course, depend on the results of discussions with the SJF and possibly other agencies."

"I have an interest in jazz going back to the early days of the Edinburgh Rhythm Club in Methven Simpson's where the original band included Bob Fairley, Bill MacGregor, Drew Bruce, Mrs Bruce and Dave Mylne, which in time was replaced by Al Fairweather, Sandy Brown, Stu Eaton and others. The Club moved to Riego Street and was renamed the Edinburgh Jazz Club. My fellow attenders included Jim Tabel, Gerry Hall and Janol Scott who were form-mates at the Royal High School, as was Bill Strachan. Janol (who died a year or so back) was on the 'committee' concerned with the plaques for Sandy and Al but, like me, always thought that something of a more permanent memorial was required, hence this development."

"While researching the situation throughout Scotland, I have found an interesting and surprising listing in 'Enjoying Jazz' by Rex Harris of Jazz Clubs north of the Border and would be interested to hear from any of your readers who could supply information on the clubs, venues and bands - they number about 28 in all, including Aberdeen (2), Ayr, Bellshill, Dundee (2), Edinburgh (4), Falkirk, Glasgow (14), Largs (2) and Paisley."

"Finally, I would welcome memories and anecdotes of the Edinburgh and Glasgow scene in the 1940s with particular reference to the West End Cafe in Edinburgh; the Edinburgh Rhythm/Jazz Club, the Condon Club, the Stud Club (Crown Bar) and the Oddfellows Hall (Jazz Band Balls)."

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