By Jason Toynbee, 2 August 2010
Harry Beckett died on 22 July – sad news indeed. Harry was a gentle musical giant of the British jazz scene, an extraordinary trumpet and flugelhorn player, and a composer too, with a strongly idiomatic sound. In jazz, of course, everyone is supposed to have their own distinctive idiom. But Harry really did, being able to play in a range of moods and styles, from the lyrical to the acerbically free, yet always with a unique sense of phrasing. The architecture was different in his solos, apparently out of kilter, but with every note played to stunning effect.
By Jason Toynbee, 13 July 2010
This week I had the opportunity to read an engaging essay by Kristin McGee, a colleague doing research on jazz in the Netherlands (the chapter will appear in Migrating Music, edited by Jason Toynbee and me, forthcoming with Routledge). McGee discusses the prominent place of bebop in contemporary jazz pedagogy and practice, and the roots of this high standing in both ideology and community practice.
By Jason Toynbee, 27 April 2010
I gave a paper to the School of Music at Ohio State University, Columbus, USA in mid-April at the height of the great volcano, ash and air scare. Would I ever get home, I wondered as I rehearsed my presentation. Daunting, but maybe a touch of paranoia is useful – helps you sharpen up your act?
By Jason Toynbee, 29 March 2010
Jerry Dammers brought his new band, Spatial AKA, to Warwick Arts Centre at the beginning of March. For the former leader of The Specials this was something of a home coming. Despite the Olde English name, Warwick Arts Centre is actually located on the edge of post-industrial Coventry in which city Dammers played a leading part in launching Two Tone over twenty years ago. More than just a record label, Two Tone was a multicultural social movement built on anti-racist politics and a thumping hybrid of punk and ska.
By Jason Toynbee, 22 January 2010
On the twelfth and thirteenth of December Mark Doffman and I completed what will be our last recording sessions for a few months. We’ll do a few more in 2010, but the majority of the work is done.
By Jason Toynbee, 30 October 2009
The King’s Place arts centre is a plate glass outpost of gentrification as it marches north and absorbs the once industrial zone of factories and warehouses at the back of Kings Cross station. You might say (I’m saying it) that Kings Place is a metaphor for the killing off of manufacturing, and the working class jobs and communities that go with it. That said, the venue also hosts the Out Hear concert series, featuring experimental music and multi-media performances.
By Jason Toynbee, 7 October 2009
The weekend of September 17 marked the first time members of the BBJ team have come together to read papers as a panel at a scholarly conference. It was the annual meeting of the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology, this year held at The Open University right here in Milton Keynes.
By Jason Toynbee, 20 July 2009
7.40: I’m awake and out of bed … and it’s a Sunday morning. Damn. Forty minutes later I’ve showered, had breakfast, and am swinging out of my street on the road to London to record Tomorrow’s Warriors. It’ll be our first proper concert recording session.
By Jason Toynbee, 26 May 2009
For years it seemed the academy was dead set against the study of popular culture. Or to put it in a more neutral way, there were just no resources to do research into it. Finally, that’s beginning to change. The idea that it might be important to document and interpret the creative expression of ordinary people, beyond elite culture, is gradually gaining acceptance. And I’d say that the Beyond Text programme is playing a key part here. All good, as the young people say.