Mike Durham is not only a fine trumpet player and soulful man. He’s also the embodiment of musical generosity — with his wife Patti (herself inimitable) he has given the world twenty Whitley Bay International Jazz Festivals. The 2010 one was announced as the final one, and I think all the musicians and listeners had their joy tinged by a certain melancholy: to paraphrase Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar, “Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Whitley Bay?”
Yes and no. Of course.
There will be no WBIJF in May 2011. That is the bad news.
However, Mike has an idea — a Classic Jazz Party to be held at the same location (the comfortable Village Newcastle Hotel) for three days in November 2011 — Friday to Sunday, November 4-6.
It would be a long weekend filled to the brim with hot music from the artists who have so enlivened Whitley Bay. Bent Persson, Michel Bastide, Keith Nichols, Rico Tomasso, Rene Hagmann, Matthias Seuffert, Norman Field, Jean-Francois Bonnel, Kristoffer Kompen, Martin Litton, Malcolm Sked, Frans Sjostrom, Spats Langham, Martn Wheatley, Nick Ward, Josh Duffee, Debbie Arthurs, and more.
As he envisions it, it would be three days of jazz — from midday to midnight, with each band presenting an hour-long set.
But jazz parties are expensive endeavors, so Mike cannnot go ahead with this one without some funding up front from the faithful. The principle of subscriptions is, I think, as old as publishing in the eighteenth century and as new as CD production in this century. What Mike is asking from people is a check (or “cheque”) for a hundred pounds, made out to CLASSIC JAZZ PARTY, and sent to him at 60 Highbury, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE2 3LN. Along with the money, he asks that you send your name and full address, phone number and email address.
If too few people send their money (alas, alack, and woe) Mike promises to return every penny. I don’t know what arrangement he might make for those of us who don’t have UK pounds at the ready, but he can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, for my part, before Whitley Bay 2010 had ended, I’d made sure to give Mike some coin of the realm, so that I could do my part . . . in hopes to sit with my pals Elin and Ron Smith and Honor and Richard and Robin and and . . . listening to the best jazz I can imagine.
And if enough people subscribe, the Village Hotel (very comfortable) promises to offer three nights of dinner, bed, and breakfast for 175 pounds total, which is a bargain. More details to follow.
Don’t be late!
Don’t be left out!
You come too!