This particular piece of work initially came out of our commitment towards engagement with professionals operating in the music industries. Dr Simon Barber and I had previously organised a series of events in Birmingham, where BCMCR is based, entitled Music and The Media, the first two of which focussed on the jazz music industries. One of our guest speakers at the first of these events [CH2] was Chris Mapp, a jazz musician and member of the Cobweb collective that had been formed at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Using our strong links with Birmingham Conservatoire, which is a part of BCU, we conducted research around the organisation of jazz collectives within the school, and with particular reference to how this related to elements of the curriculum.

Prior to publication in the Jazz Journal we presented elements of our research at the Live Music Exchange Conference in Leeds [CH3] in May 2012, reframing our findings in order to create a map of activity as it related to the locations of local jazz promoters and venues. Here we drew upon some of my own research into the jazz scenes of UK regions[CH4] , and also the work of our BCMCR colleague Andrew Dubber, and in particular his research into mapping the jazz scenes in New Zealand cities[CH6] . This thread is further in evidence in the work of BCMCR researcher Jez Collins  and his work around the history and heritage [CH8] of the music scene in Birmingham[CH9] , and in the work of Dave Harte [CH10]  and his studies of hyperlocal journalism[CH11] .

My own passion for UK jazz is reflected in much of my work, from the collaborative research conducted with Dr Paul Long on the mediation of televised Jazz histories, [CH13] through to previous research undertaken, again with Simon, into British jazz and online media[CH14] .

Our commitment to engaging with the jazz music industries continues. Simon has recently been working with independent UK jazz label Edition Records on their use of digital and internet technologies[CH15] .

Abstract: This article examines the conditions under which jazz is created as a live music among young musicians in three major UK cities. The analysis uses approaches from political economy and cultural studies, including interviews with jazz musicians and promoters in these local jazz scenes, to explore how the participants organize themselves and, in particular, how they use ideas of collective working to achieve their ends. The authors make the case that the collective has become the primary organizing principle through which contemporary jazz musicians create performance opportunities, sustain production cultures and negotiate their relationships with the music industries in these scenes. This thesis is supported through a detailed examination of the work of local collectives, the semiotic use of collective organization, and the relationship of the collectives to the jazz educational programmes based in those cities.

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 [CH1]Link to Simon’s page

 [CH2]Blog post about the Music and the Media events

 [CH3]‘Live Jazz in Birmingham’, Live Music Exchange, Leeds College of Music, May 5, 2012.

 [CH4]‘Contemporary live jazz scenes in the UK regions’ The Business of Live Music Conference Edinburgh, June 2011

 [CH5]Link to Dubber’s page

 [CH6]Link to Dubber’s NZ Jazz Scene work

 [CH7]Link to Jez’s page

 [CH8]Key words

 [CH9]Link to BMA

 [CH10]Link to Dave Harte’s page

 [CH11]Link to Dave’s hyperlocal site.

 [CH12]Link to Paul Long’s page

 [CH13]‘Jazz Britannia: mediating the story of British jazz on television’ [with Paul Long] Jazz Research Journal 3/2, 145-170 2010

 [CH14]‘Creating British jazz archives: experimenting with online media’ [with Simon Barber] MeCCSA Conference LSE, January 2010

 [CH15]Link to Simon Barber – Edition Records: reimagining jazz culture in the digital age

Birmingham Centre For Media And Cultural Research

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