Bridge Music, the organisation that stages weekly jazz concerts in Glasgow Art Club, has established a Glasgow jazz collective to promote local musicians in the city center venue while it waits for news of funding from Scotland’s main arts support body, Creative Scotland.
Bridge promotions came to a halt at the end of March when Creative Scotland turned down the company’s application for 2014/15 but a fresh application is to be considered and the result is expected to be announced in September.
This enforced shutdown leaves a big gap in Glasgow’s jazz provision, says Bridge Music’s Bill Kyle, who has been involved in jazz promotions in the city since the 1970s and who had provisionally booked a spring programme that has now had to be rethought.
“The Jazz Thursdays series at the Art Club has attracted a loyal audience and we’ve been working hard to build on that following,” says Kyle. “We had a venue available, with a piano, a PA and a drum kit for touring bands who can’t always carry their own backline, and we decided to throw it open to bands who otherwise might not find a suitable gig with a listening audience.”
The Glasgow Art Club promotions run in partnership with Edinburgh’s Jazz Bar, offering touring bands a two-night stopover in Scotland, and they have presented musicians and bands from the U.S. and across Europe as well as giving a platform to Scottish talent. Among those who have appeared recently are Whirlwind Records saxophonists George Crowley and Alex Garnett, trumpeter Bruce Adams, guitarists Przemyslaw Straczwek and Jim Mullen, drummer Ole Seimetz, and horn quartet Brass Jaw.
A programme running through to the end of June will open with Berklee-trained former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, pianist Alan Benzie’s trio launching his debut album, Travellers Tales, on Thursday April 30. Drummer Chris Whitehouse’s Connected, which released its first album, Grounded, earlier this month will play on May 14 and Scottish National Jazz Orchestra trombonist Chris Greive’s ‘Led Zeppelin’ Trio (June 4) and saxophonist Andy Baker’s Illusive Tree (June 25) have also been confirmed.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from bands who want to make the most of this opportunity to play in a venue that’s become an established link in the touring chain,” says Kyle, “and we expect to announce a full programme very soon.”