The Column: Eddie Myer – The Best of…2013
“The level of commitment and the number of hours of sheer dedication required to play jazz to a good standard have not changed. Let’s be thankful for the spirit, the sheer fascination with jazz-and-related-musics that keeps people involved whatever the prevailing winds of fashion or technology may bring.”
~‘Jazz and Plumbing’ (Issue 6)
“It seems as if vocal jazz, by maintaining its adherence to the song, has kept a lot of the qualities that instrumental jazz, with its rejection of the song, has left behind. In the world of Jazz Academia, and the opinions of the more high-minded critics, vocal jazz may be out on a bit of a limb, but in terms of audiences it’s possibly the healthiest sub-genre out there. And without audiences, where would the music be?”
~‘The Wisdom of Phronesis’ (Issue 5)
“Which is where you come in… if you’re reading this , you must have some interest in Jazz-and-related-musics. If you don’t get to these gigs, they’ll fold and we’ll be back where we started. So buck the media trend, find out what’s on and go out and support live Jazz. If you can afford to spend freely at the bar while doing so, then so much the better for everyone.”
~‘Can you hear the jazz boom?’ (Issue 1)
“Jam sessions work because they offer a range of different things to promoters, participants and audiences alike. For aspiring professional musicians they provide an entry point, a way of cutting your teeth in front of an audience; participants with a variety of borderline personality disorders get a chance to act out their life traumas before a captive crowd. Running a good jam session requires a firm but diplomatic hand; it’s important that no-one feels left out or patronised, and the session shouldn’t feel intimidatingly clique-y, but at the same time the music quality and entertainment factor have to be kept at a decent level or it’ll be no fun for players or listeners.”
“Jazz music is uniquely suited to jam sessions because of it’s tradition of group improvisation over a shared repertoire. You may hear complaints that they can be over-competitive, drearily predictable or simply inept, but there’s a certain magic in seeing a group of players who may have been strangers to each other moments before coming together to create joyous music which sums up the essence of jazz, however you define it. Check the listings, get out your crumhorn or your accordion, prepare to expect the unexpected and get yourself along to one.”
~‘Jam Yesterday, Jam Tomorrow’ (Issue 2)
“So is Free dead? Marginalised it may be, but it’s still an essential part of contemporary jazz. At it’s best, free playing allowed players to inject directness, excitement, danger and emotional honesty into jazz, countering a tendency in the music to become too cautious and mannered.”
~‘Free Admission’ (Issue 3)
“Jazz musicians are characteristically hungry to learn and progress, and it’s this appetite that has driven the relentless pace of change.”
~‘Ars Longa, Vita Brevis’ (Issue 4)
Eddie’s column returns in the next issue.
His latest album ‘Why Worry?’ is out now.