The Backlash

Ah …… as expected we were not to everyone’s taste…..,,2126385,00.html

I don’t believe in answering back to reviews. Critics should say what they think and their opinion is their opinion.

But this is my blog so I am going to record my views on this. And I do think critics have a duty not to mislead – which I think this guy has done.

It was really bizarre reading this review when:

a) I was nominated for the award precisely for doing an innovative kids show where we dressed up in silly costumes and had lots of audience participation to make jazz more fun and accessible for kids. We did an excerpt of that show for an adult audience at the awards show. The reviewer didn’t seemed to get that.

b) the audience at the awards really responded to it and had a great laugh. Many people said how much it lifted the energy in the room.

c) we did not play deliberately badly……..

you can listen online and decide for yourself here

d) There was no sense of embarrassment. I wasn’t embarrassed at all. I am very proud of the set we did. We totally ripped the place up.

I had a ball and so did (the vast majority of) the audience. You can hear that too.

Dave Gelly has always been cool when he reviewed Caber Music albums. It is fairly clear from the review he wasn’t having a great evening anyway and then we came along and pushed a lot of his buttons. But I am baffled that he failed to notice what a great vibe there was in the room and how much other people were digging it.

Maybe he’ll come along to see Kidsamonium and  find out it really is we have been doing?

Or look at the video online here

Anyhow such is life

Lewis Hamilton on tenor sax, anyone?

His colleague John Fordham  at The Guardian said this: see original here

It was a pretty formal affair until the Scottish drummer, composer and former doctor Tom Bancroft came on dressed as Elvis, issued kazoos to the audience, and cajoled it into call-and-response jazz badinage with a band wearing a variety of animals’ heads and general weird apparel.

“Nobody told me that was going to happen,” said a baffled Paul Gambaccini, the normally imperturbable MC for the occasion – which was the BBC’s annual Jazz Awards bash held at London’s Mermaid Theatre last night.

Bancroft’s spirited antics almost managed to eclipse the star-power of the singer Madeleine Peyroux (flown in specially to collect the International Award) and the 86 year-old jazz giant Dave Brubeck – who played Blue Rondo A La Turk and Take Five on a live satellite link from New York with the BBC’s big band, punching out horn riffs from the Mermaid’s stage. Bancroft’s set also won over an insiders’ audience of musicians, promoters, PRs, scribes and broadcasters, that generally exercises a healthy suspicion of star-systems and best-of-this-and-thats. The Scotsman was collecting the Innovation Award presented by Radio 3’s Jazz on 3 show.

The Awards represent a mix of the jazz agendas of Radio 2 (swing, popular singers, explicit references to the music’s blues and dance roots) and the more eclectic, art-music and improv-oriented Radio 3. But, since this is meant to be a PR exercise for the inclusiveness of jazz as well as a tribute to its leading practitioners, the results almost inevitably sidestepped the UK scene’s more uncompromising innovators.

Bancroft, an excellent creative player but also an energetic jazz proselytiser and educator, won against the cult appeals of the hip-hop-influenced Soweto Kinch and the unique sax-experimenter Evan Parker.

There were some odd choices at the BBC Jazz Awards but plenty to cheer – not least a young man in a tie

Dave Gelly

Sunday July 15, 2007

If, in years to come, some diligent researcher digs out the recording of Thursday night’s BBC Jazz Awards show, what will it reveal about the British jazz scene in 2007

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