Saturday, 13 August 2011

A Strange Week

For a lot of jazz-involved musicians in England, the weekend brought the news of Richard Turner's passing. Richard achieved an amazing amount in his time in London, pulling off the near-impossible feat of successfully running a regular jazz night (Jazz @ The Con Cellar Bar) for several years (as we all know, many much wealthier and time-rich individuals and even groups of promoters have struggled in this endeavour) and simultaneously enjoying a growing career as a trumpet player. He was responsible for bringing sought-after musicians over from the US, and was unafraid to take risks in his programming. Rich gave me an early shot at leading a group (I think I played the first ever jazz night at the Con with a straightahead-ish quartet) and later on gave me chances to play with fully improvised groups, despite this not being what the Con was generally thought of as being a place for. But bigger than that, the Con nights took on a life of their own, and became a home for his generation of players. He was too young, 26 I think. RiP. :(