The work of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group

This article is reprinted by kind permission of Ian Maund of Sandy Brown Jazz

The All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) was set up by interested Members of Parliament in the UK to promote the use and enjoyment of jazz as a music form. The Group has over eighty members from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and is jointly chaired by a Member of the House of Commons and a member of the House of Lords. Until 2015, the joint chairpersons were Michael Connarty, MP for Linlithgow and Falkirk East and Lord Tony Colwyn, himself a very fine trumpeter and band leader. Administrative services were originally provided by Jazz Services. Michael Connarty pays tribute to former MP Bob Blizzard who served for some time as Secretary for APPJAG.

Michael Connarty recalls: ‘The great innovation that started with APPJAG was the introduction of ‘live’ jazz music in the House of Commons. This started with ‘Jazz In The House‘ which after six years is still held each November in co-operation with Serious and Radio 3 to celebrate the London Jazz Festival. It brings together those working in the industry as promoters and artists and jazz-supporting MPs and Lords, to talk about the ongoing state of the jazz scene, and has live music in the Terrace Pavilion of the House of Commons’. M

‘The Jazz In The House event was the first event with ‘live’ jazz music and has been held for more years than the Parliamentary Jazz Awards.  It has been held for 13 or 14 years. It was sponsored in the first year by Arts and Business, with the assistance, believe it or not, of Ffion Hague (William’s wife), who told me her grand-father had been a professional saxophone player.  The sponsorship was taken up by BBC 3 and has in recent years been adopted by EFG who also became the main sponsors of the London Jazz Festival.’

APPJAG has teamed up with Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), the body responsible for collecting royalties for the playing of auditory recordings, and who have sponsored three other events with live music in the Commons each year.

Each January, there has been a ‘Youth Band’ event. The first band featured was Tomorrow’s Warriors with Guy Barker, and since then, others have featured the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra Octet with Georgie Fame; the TS Scottish Youth Jazz Orchestra Octet with Tommy Smith, the Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra Octet with Dennis Rollins, ‘Hot House’ (formerly the East Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra – EMYJO) with saxophonist Alan Barnes and the North East’s jazz Dave Hollandensemble, Jambone, with with their musical director, Skye-based trombonist, composer and arranger Rick Taylor.

In 2015, the guest artist was bass player Dave Holland. Dave has been based in America for some forty years now, but is a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London as well as holding honorary doctorates at Birmingham Conservatoire, Berklee College of Music in Boston, U.S.A. and New England Conservatory. Since his professional debut in the 1960s he has played with a wide range of musicians including Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Hank Jones Chick Corea, Anthony Braxton and Gary Burton.

The young musicians who worked with him were members of the National Youth Jazz Collective, founded in 2006 Issie Barrett and for which Dave Holland is the President. Amongst them was saxophonist Alexander NYJC saxophonistsBone, winner of the first BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Award 2014. Click here to watch the final.

NYJC ‘supports the creative and educational needs of the young jazz musician. It focuses on small group improvisation and creates a pathway of progression designed to support young jazz musicians from beginner to emerging professionals through a rolling programme of regional activities across England, the National Youth Jazz Summer School, and by supporting the needs of regional educators and music leaders.’ The Summer School this year for young people of 14 to 18 years of age will be held at Uppingham School in Rutland from 9th -16th August.

Pictures courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL

Click on their website for more details (click here). Click here for a video of Dave Holland talking about NYJC.

The second main live event has been the Annual All Parliamentary Jazz Awards. As there was a General Election in May, 2015, the event was held earlier in March, but in 2016 the Awards were back to their usual spot in May.

Now in its twefth year the Parliamentary Jazz Awards are a premiere event in the UK jazz calendar and are voted for online by the Michael Connartypublic with a shortlist of nominations subsequently voted for by a selection panel of jazz industry figures. Judging members of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) then choose the winners.

Former chairperson Michael Connarty told me: ‘These awards were a joint inspiration by APPJAG and PPL with the aim of trying to recognise people and categories that were not always on the roster of the Music Industry, like Jazz Education; Jazz Venue; Contribution to Jazz;Newcomer to Watch; Jazz Media Award, etc.

‘We ask for nominations from the public through jazz mags; jazz radio, and a wide listening panel draw up a short list from those nominations. Our committee listens in advance, MPs visit venues, and then APPJAG meets and chooses the winners from the shortlists. The event normally takes place in May each year with live music, and a very professional schedule overseen by our guest host in the past Moira Stewart and before her, Paul Gambaccini have looked after proceedings.’

The Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2016

The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are held each year in the Terrace Room at the Houses of Parliament. The room runs parallel to the river Thames – you can see the terrace in those pictures of the Houses of Parliament taken from the opposite side of the river. Getting to the room is a journey. Entry is by invitation and as you would expect, security is tight, much like at an airport where all metal objects are placed in a tray on a conveyor and you are screened while holding up your trousers because your belt is in the tray. There is then a walk to the room through an enormous,Houses of Parliament Terrace cavernous, stone lobby and I am wondering whether that was designed to make a man feel small, humbled. Turn left along a corridor where statues of the great and the good look down on you (don’t blink!), across the Central Lobby where the political journalists ‘talk to camera’ and then down carpeted corridors serving busy committee and meeting rooms that say Parliament is not ‘nine to five’, and on towards the Thames.

As you walk, you feel the age and history of the building but not the enormous amount of wear and tear that is causing headaches for the government in how to deal with the maintenance and restoration work currently needed and the debate about moving elsewhere while work is done. The Parliamentary Jazz Awards might have a different venue in a year or two.

The terrace room is smaller than the ballroom where the JazzFM Awards were held, and there is no separate bar room, although people do go outside on to the narrow terrace above the river to talk and meet. At one end of the room, the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars band plays and a small

Ronnie Scott's All Starsgroup gather round to hear Freddie Gavita’s trumpet solo. In the middle of the room, a temporary stage is erected for the Award presentations. The room is packed with people meeting the award nominees, renewing old contacts and making new ones. I argued last month about how important I think these events are for musicians, jazz venues and activities and the jazz scene generally. A time for recognition of what is being achieved; an opportunity for a coming together of people who make the world of UK jazz happen.

The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars
Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL

The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are promoted by a group of Parliamentarians. Parliament is much like a school or university in the way it has ‘out-of-hours interest groups’. ‘An All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) consists of Members of both Houses who join together to pursue a particular topic or interest. In order to use the title ‘All Party Parliamentary Group’, a Group must be open to all Members of both Houses, regardless of party affiliation, and must satisfy the rules agreed by the House for All Party Parliamentary Groups.‘ There are many, of which the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) is one. They are all included in a Register where their purpose and officers are listed – for example there is an All Party Parliamentary Football Club Group whose purpose is ‘to play football and raise money for charity’ and an All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer whose purpose is ‘To keep cancer on the political agenda, monitor implementation of government initiatives, provide briefings to parliamentarians and ensure policy making is evidence based and patient centred.’ The general public is usually unaware of these activities and the range of groups is interesting to see (click here).

The purpose of AAPJAG is ‘To promote an appreciation of jazz music and to engage Parliament in an awareness of the issues facing jazz music, musicians and promoters.’ Of course, there are other benefits from APPGs in that they bring together different members of the House ofJon Newey Commons and House of Lords from all political parties who have a common interest. The current joint chairs of APPJAG are Jason McCartney, M.P. for the Colne Valley  in West Yorkshire and Lord Colwyn (click here for our page on APPJAG). The Register also records any registrable (financial) benefits received by the Group and for APPJAG there are none. As with the JazzFM Awards, these events are funded by sponsors. Parliament makes the venue available ‘with the permission of the Speaker’ but other costs are met by supporting organisations such as PPLUK, the organisation that licenses recorded music in the UK. (Jon Newey Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL)

The band stops playing and after an introduction by Jason McCartney MP, and then this year’s host, Jon Newey, Editor of Jazzwise magazine introduces the presentations. Unlike some other events, the audience is attentive and most of the nominees are present. It is quite an achievement to have so many talented jazz people rubbing shoulders in one place at a time – Liam Noble, Julian Argüelles, Ian Shaw, Liane Carroll, Jason Yarde, Evan Parker, Jacqui Dankworth …… As the winners are announced, the band plays a few appropriate bars – a Scottish air for Dr Tommy Smith as he receives the award for Jazz Education. The award itself is a simple wooden wall shield, but the significance of the award is far from simple and I hope that Parliament and the sponsers enable the event to continue for years to come.

Award Winners

Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL

Lewis Wright

This year’s Award winners were:

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Emilia Mårtensson (click here for a video of Emilia singing Harvest Moon)
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Alexander Hawkins (click here for a video of Alexander Hawkins with his trio)
Jazz Album of the Year: Julian Argüelles, Let It Be Told (click here for a video introduction for the album)
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Empirical
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Binker and Moses
Jazz Venue of the Year: Seven Jazz Leeds
Jazz Media Award: Jez Nelson, BBC Jazz on 3

Lewis Wright accepting the Jazz Ensemble award on behalf of Empirical
Picture courtesy of Hayley Madden / PPL
Jazz Education Award: Dr Tommy Smith
Services to Jazz Award: Mary Greig (for the Jazz In London gig list)
Special Awards: Michael Connarty and Evan Parker

Jason McCartney, M.P. told us: ‘I came to appreciate Jazz through the Marsden International Jazz Festival in my constituency. It was wonderful to see such amazing musical talent in Parliament and as the Co Chairman of APPJAG I look forward to nurturing and celebrating this musical talent for many years to come.’

The Yamaha Jazz Scholarships

In July the Group has held a Summer Jazz Gig where Yamaha sponsored the ‘Yamaha Jazz Scholarships‘. These Scholarships have been awarded annually to final year jazz graduates nominated by the six conservatoires of music in the UK that offer a full-time degree course in jazz. They are prestigious awards for the musicians and a chance for us to take note of exciting and talented youngYamaha Scholrs 2016 people who we are likely to hear more from in the future. The award ceremony is usually hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group at Westminster in the summer before Parliament goes to recess, but there was been a lot going on politically in 2016, so in view of the Parliamentary calendar, the Awards took place in October.

The scholars each received a voucher for £500 to put towards instruments and equipment at Yamaha Music London, plus a chance to record their music at Astar studios for a sampler CD that will be included with the December/January issue of Jazzwise magazine. The recording gives the scholars a ‘calling card’ they can use in their personal publicity.

The first part of the evening of the 25th October saw the audience entertained by reeds player Pete Long and his Quartet. The Scholarships were then presented before the Scholars played. On this occasion they did not have their own bands present and I wondered how a pianist, 2 bass players, 2 guitarists and 2 drummers would work as a group. With some changing Roz Macdonaldaround between tunes, the results were outstanding. If this is the music that will appear on the CD, then get a copy – it should be one of the best coming from this project.

The Scholarship winners for 2016 year were as follows and we plan to bring you more about them in What’s New in the months ahead. Click the links for a taste of their music over the past couple of years (These are not the tracks on the Scholars CD):

Mark Pringle (Piano) – Birmingham Conservatoire
Roz Macdonald (Double Bass) – Leeds College of Music
Will Arnold-Forster (Guitar) – Guildhall School Of Music and Drama
Jake Long (Drums) – Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Tom Ollendorff (Guitar) – Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
David Bowden (Double Bass) – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Ben Brown – (Drums) – Royal Academy of Music

The General Election in 2015 resulted in some disruption to the activities of APPJAG. With a surge in Scottish National Party support, Michael Connarty was not re-elected to his seat in Scotland. Whatever the political implications, APPJAG lost a long-standing advocate for jazz, and jazz in the UK will miss an enthusiastic supporter of the music in Parliament. Michael Connarty’s work was recognised when he was presented with an APPJAG Special Award in 2016.

Lord Tony Colwyn continues as joint Chairperson with Kelvin Hopkins MP

Lord Colwyn


Lord Colwyn

Over the years Group has been involved in more than arranging the events described above. Michael Connarty explained:

‘APPJAG has been engaged in the serious business of contributing to government policy, and even European Union policy on matters as diverse as the changes in the Licensing Laws; the funding for Jazz as a music genre; the need for more allocation of time on radio for jazz music, and the campaign to extend the payment time for auditory copyright from its present 50 years to at least 95 years. Alththough we campaigned for an increase to 95 years after recording (from 50), we only got an extension to 70 years.  The Musician’s Union raised over 40 thousand signatures from musicians across the EU which helped convince the MEPs. Apart from meetings with organisations who wish to put their case to APPJAG members, APPJAG members have also undertaken meetings where we have had ‘full and frank dialogue’ with organisations such as OFCOM on radio licence allocations and the poor coverage of jazz music. Meetings have been held with ministers to which people from the music industry have put the case from the performers’ point of view. Meetings have even been held in Brussels with Members of the EU Commission on copyright extensionand publicity, and lobby meetings have been held to publicise the justice of the extension campaign in the UK parliament.’

Parliament logo

It is possible that many people are unaware of the valuable work being done by APPJAG on behalf of jazz in the UK, and it is reassuring to know that the Group is active and working in support of the music through the awards that are made; the bringingtogether of important sponsors in the world of music; the encouragement and support of young jazz musicians in partnership with the conservatoires of music, and the opportunities for a variety of people with interest in jazz to come together during the year.

© Sandy Brown Jazz

 The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2016

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Emilia Mårtensson (click here for a video of Emilia singing Harvest Moon)
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Alexander Hawkins Alexander Hawkins (click here for a video of Alexander Hawkins with his trio)
Jazz Album of the Year: Julian Argüelles, Let It Be Told (click here for a video introduction for the album)
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Empirical
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Binker and Moses
Jazz Venue of the Year: Seven Jazz Leeds
Jazz Media Award: Jez Nelson, BBC Jazz on 3
Jazz Education Award: Dr Tommy Smith
Services to Jazz Award:Mary Greig
Special Awards:Michael Connarty and Evan Parker

The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2015

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Norma Winstone MBE
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Laura Jurd
Jazz Album of the Year: Partisans Swamp
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Engines Orchestra
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Peter EdwardsPeter Edward Moira Stewart & Ken Clark MP
Jazz Venue of the Year: St Ives Jazz Club
Jazz Media Award: London Jazz News
Jazz Education Award: National Youth Jazz Orchestra
Services to Jazz Award: Chris Hodgkins
Special Award: Peter Ind

The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2014

Jazz Vocalist of the Year  – Christine Tobin      
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year – Arun Ghosh
Jazz Album of the Year – Troykestra ‘Live At Cheltenham 13 Jazz Festival’
Jazz Ensemble of the Year – Beats & Pieces Big Band
Jazz Newcomer of the Year – Phil Meadows
Jazz Venue of the Year  – EFG London Jazz Festival  
Jazz Media Award – The Jamie Cullum Show
Jazz Education Award  – Issie Barratt, National Youth Jazz Collective
Services to Jazz Award – David Redfern
Special Award – Chris Barber

The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2013

Jazz Musician of the Year – Guy Barker
Jazz Album of the Year – John Surman ‘Saltash Bells’ (ECM) [Click here to sample]
Jazz Ensemble of the Year – Impossible Gentlemen
Live Jazz Award – The Vortex, London
Jazz Journalist of the Year – Rob Adams
Jazz Broadcaster of the Year – Mike Chadwick
Jazz Publication of the Year – Catherine Tackley
– ‘Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert’
Jazz Education Award – Nick Smart (Head of Jazz at Royal Academy of Music)
Services to Jazz Award – Stan Tracey O.B.E.
APPJAG Special Award – Elaine Delmar

The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2011

Jazz Musician of the Year: Brian Kellock.
Jazz Album of the Year: John Turville ‘Midas’ .
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Brass Jaw
Jazz Promoter/Venue of the Year: The Hideaway (Streatham, London)
Jazz Journalist of the Year: John Fordham
Jazz Broadcaster of the Year: Paul Barnes
Jazz Publication of the Year: ‘Goin’ Home: The Uncompromising Life and Music of Ken Colyer’ by Mike Pointon, Ray Smith, Martin Colyer.
Jazz Education Award: Dr Ian Darrington MBE
Services to Jazz Award: Coleridge Goode
A Special Award was made this year to Dame Cleo Laine.

The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2010

Jazz Musician: Mark Lockheart
Jazz CD: ‘No Messin’ by the Gareth Lockrane Septet
Jazz Ensemble: the Nigel Price Organ Trio
Jazz Venue: the Jazz Bar, Edinburgh
Jazz Journalist: Mike Flynn
Jazz Broadcaster: Alyn Shipton
Jazz Publication: Jazzwise
Jazz Educator: Dr Kathy Dyson
Services to Jazz: Brian Blane

The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2009:

Jazz Musician of the Year: Phil Robson
Jazz CD of the Year: The Sam Crockatt Quartet ‘Howeird’.
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: The Ryan Quigley Sextet
Jazz Venue of the Year: Fleece Jazz (South East England)
Jazz Journalist of the Year: Kevin LeGendre
Jazz Broadcaster of the Year: Sarah Ward
Jazz Publication of the Year:
Jazz Education Award: Richard Michael
Services to Jazz Award: Val Wilmer
50 Years Anniversary Award: Ronnie Scott’s Club.

The Parliamentary Jazz Award Winners of 2008:

Jazz Musician of the Year: Liane Carroll
Jazz Broadcaster: Helen Mayhew
Jazz Venue: Tithe Barn, Needham, Norfolk
Jazz Educator: Dennis Rollins
Jazz Publication: Jazz UK
Jazz Journalist: John Fordham
Services to Jazz: Paul Pace (of Ray’s Jazz)
Jazz CD: The Amadeus Project – Guy Barker
Jazz Ensemble – Empirical