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Derby Jazz

Watch Doug Smith's 30 minute documentary about LOOSEN UP HERE

Watch the trailer HERE

Created in July, August and September 2020 during the COVID 19 epidemic LOOSEN UP had three aims;

1  Create an acoustic jazz band, which could play outdoors and would help raise the spirits of people in Derby with FREE shows as soon as CORVID restrictions permitted.

2  Create work and artist development opportunities for professional musicians in the East Midlands.

3  Create a rich learning experience for a small number of amateur musicians from the region


Loosen Up was also delivered within budget



In early March 2020 DERBY JAZZ cancelled its programme of six performances in March, April and May out of concern for the safety of its artists. Unusually three key artists in the programme were “veterans” were at particular risk and one was BAME and at additional risk. DERBY JAZZ also had foresight informed by conversations with friends in the Italian jazz community, who had just been put into lock down.

Consequently DERBY JAZZ consulted with the artists effected who all agreed that we cancel/postpone the last SIX shows of the spring season. Subsequently we came to the conclusion that our regular programme of performances and workshops would not be possible until January 2021. Now even that looks optimistic.

How then was DERBY JAZZ to meet its stated aims:

1  To promote performances of contemporary jazz and associated arts in Derby, its environs and other locations.

2  To advance education in contemporary jazz and associated arts.

3  To foster, encourage and promote understanding and appreciation of contemporary jazz and associated arts, and 

4  To increase the accessibility of contemporary jazz and associated arts to the population of Derby, its environs and in other locations. 

Unusually for arts organisations at this time DERBY JAZZ faced no financial risk. It has no paid staff, premises based overheads or debts to service and it had secured grant funding from Derby City Council and EMJAZZ, which was in turn funded securely as an Arts Council of England nPO and like Derby Jazz had very low staff overheads, no premises or debts.

There were hundreds of available musicians, all without paid work. Derby Jazz’ problems focused on WHERE it could deliver performances and learning/participation activities.

EMJAZZ had similar delivery problems. One of its core activities “Side by Side” is an artists development scheme, which supports aspiring regional bands workshopping and performing with major national artists. With no venues active performance opportunities had dried up.

As a member of “Derby Strategic Culture Group” Derby Jazz was aware that the city’s authorities were looking to the arts to support their work in maintaining and reviving the city’s morale during and after the COVID lockdown.

In response to these issues and opportunities DERBY JAZZ proposed LOOSEN UP

  geoff@derby-jazz.co.uk


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