Quote from something I* wrote back in 2009 under the title The problem of free jazz:
So my point is not that there shouldn’t be free jazz, but, I suppose, should it be quite this good?
Quote from Tony Dudley-Evans** (in his A response to the original Jazz Biz post):
Now I defend the use of free gigs provided that they are not affecting attendance at the ticketed events (which I don’t think they do); free gigs provide the opportunity for less established bands, whether consisting of young jazz graduates or older veterans of the scene, to play in front of a good sized audience and get their music known.
Comment from Brian Homer*** (in reply to Tony’s post – see link above):
I would argue that free gigs do run the risk of distorting the jazz market. I suspect that many people mainly go to free gigs and probably don’t then go to see the same bands play at paid gigs. There have been many recent instances of national bands and musicians playing at free or very cheap gigs when they should be attracting a better paying audience. And people may choose not to pay to see a local band when they are on for free somewhere else in the weeks before or after. Free gigs whether supported by pubs and bars or by public subsidy do risk developing audiences who then don’t value musicians enough to want to pay to see them. I’m all for public subsidy and contributions from bars etc and the development of jazz in Birmingham has benefited from it and continues to do so, but in the longterm I don’t think completely free gigs are good for the sector unless they truly are showcasing only musicians in the very early stages who are perhaps not ready for paid gigs.
This Friday in Birmingham:
Dan Nicholls’ Point X is playing at the CBSO Centre. This is a Jazzlines gig. Tickets are £12.
The Jon Lloyd Group is playing at The Red Lion. This is a Birmingham Jazz gig. Tickets are £12.
The Ivo Neame Quintet is playing in the Symphony Hall Cafe Bar. This is a Jazzlines gig. It’s free.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions. Mine remains: hmmm!
* I am a freelance jazz writer and blogger with no affiliation to any organisation.
** Tony Dudley-Evans is Artistic Adviser to Jazzlines.
*** Brian Homer helps to organise (and his company supports) Birmingham Jazz.
Note: If you read the first The problem of free jazz post, you might find the references to Birmingham Jazz confusing. What was then Birmingham Jazz is now Jazzlines. But Birmingham Jazz remains as a separate organisation.