Our good friends at the website Jazz Views release between 30 and 50 album reviews in a typical month, as well as interviews and articles. 2022 is their tenth anniversary. Founder/Editor is Nick Lea, based in Cumbria. We invited him to reflect on the last ten years of Jazz Views. Happy Anniversary! Sebastian’s interview:
London Jazz News: What made you start Jazz Views?
Nick Lea: The idea of starting a jazz website never crossed my mind until a friend inadvertently planted the seed. After moving from Wales, where I grew up, I wrote regularly to a fellow jazz enthusiast and friend, often discussing albums I had purchased. When I was told that I write interesting letters and that I should write reviews, I started doing just that. Originally, reviews were written and compiled into a “newsletter” and emailed to friends. These in turn seemed to refer to others and the logical next step was to create a website.
The first edition of Jazz Views ran from 2002 to 2006. The current edition was launched in 2012 and I was very fortunate that many of the original contributors wanted to write for the site again and indeed still do.
LJN: Has the recipe changed?
N.L.: The recipe hasn’t really changed in the last ten years, and in fact some of the features, like the musician’s playlist, come from the first Jazz Views. The idea has always been to present an “online magazine”, and the content is mainly focused on album reviews and interviews. This naturally expanded to some live reviews and book reviews along with the aforementioned musician playlist. I guess the mission of the website is to provide a platform for new artists to review their music alongside established artists with a view to introducing as many people as possible to their work.
LJN: Ten of your favorite tracks…or moments?
N.L.: This is difficult. All the content written for Jazz Views over the last decade is still on the website and hopefully easily accessible. In addition to the album reviews, there were many interesting interviews and articles that I participated in or that were written by our contributors; some of my favorites would include:
A series of articles published on 25th anniversary of Miles’ death.
A wonderful collaboration that resulted in an outstanding album.
One of my favorite musicians talks about what might be his best record to date… but it’s not jazz!
Fascinating interview with Lee in conversation with Jack Kenny.
This 14-CD box set is the biggest review challenge I’ve ever undertaken. Full of excellent music from a unique artist that we sadly miss.
A fantastic re-evaluation of this classic album written by Chris Baber.
Review of Jack Chambers’ book on Duke, reviewed by Jack Kenny.
I can’t get enough of Miles, and it’s an interesting look at the final phase of the trumpeter’s career, written by George Cole.
A piece I was invited to write for Women In Jazz Media for their first magazine.
A personal journey and insight into the creative process.
LJN: If you could change one thing about the jazz landscape, what would it be?
N.L.: A difficult and interesting question, where does one begin? Perhaps the answer lies in building an audience for music, not just for the present but for the future.
Jazz is often summed up as difficult music, but perhaps the term should now be diversified. With such a wide range of music falling under the umbrella of ‘jazz’ it should be easier to attract an audience. Many people have told me they don’t like jazz, but they’ve heard very little and have a preconceived idea of what they perceive jazz to be.
Listening to live music is a great way to appreciate any new genre of music, especially jazz with the heightened sense of being in the moment while the music is being created in front of you. The battle, as always, seems to convince people to open their ears and minds.
LJN: And what would facilitate the existence of Jazz Views?
N.L.: The answer is simply time. There is so much wonderful music being created and despite the apparent decline in CD sales, many new albums are being released every month. Of course, it’s impossible to cover everything, but this most valuable time will allow Jazz Views to include more interviews and album reviews.
On a positive note, there are exciting plans ahead for the future development and growth of Jazz Views which will be revealed over the next few weeks and months.
LJN: Who do you have to thank?
N.L.: I would like to thank all the contributors who gave generously of their time and expertise. Special thanks go to Ewan Dixon, Roy Booth, Jack Kenny and Ken Cheetham, who have written for Jazz Views since the first edition of Jazz Views and are a constant source of reviews, interviews and articles. Jazz Views was also fortunate to acquire the services of Chris Baber, George Cole, Derek Ansell, Eddie Meyer and Jim Burlong (who has now retired from writing) along the way.
Thanks also to the musicians, labels and distributors who supplied us with albums for review and helped arrange interviews.
LINK: Jazz Views website