basement jazz

Promoting Scottish Jazz since 1992

Basement Jazz was formed in 1992 by drummer Iain Copeland primarily to deal with the fact that most jazz musicians could really only hope to get pub gigs for low wages and most of the audiences were really just passing trade with no real interest in the music other than not wanting to be offended by it!

It was decided to start promoting jazz in the basement of Blackfriars Bar in Albion street in Glasgow (hence 'Basement Jazz') and to charge an entry fee of 3, a major departure from the norm, which was free entry. The entry fee at that time was known as the 'Sausage Roll Trick' which was basically - people paid 3 for a sausage roll and they got the jazz for free! This was the only way to get round the rather unfair licensing laws that did not allow musicians to charge entry for gigs in public bars.

Anyway the ball was rolling, we had basically changed the perception that you could see high quality jazz for nothing and this began to give the musicians a bit of a kick. They began to organise proper groups and rehearse new material, whereas before it was really always just a case of playing some 'standards', we had achieved the first goal - a proper jazz club where you paid to get in.

We also had changed the basic rate of pay for a gig in a pub, a seemingly small thing but a major victory for cash strapped musicians, remember these were just post the Thatcher years, there wasn't really a lot of money about and definitely not for jazz, seen as a minority sport

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