The Lord Provost of Aberdeen says he was struck by a local community jazz band’s first album and wants to relax laws to encourage more live music events in the centre of Aberdeen.
The Lord Provost thinks it’s too easy to complain about noise right now which discourages bars and venues from hosting live events.
Mr Crockett explained: “Covid has made a big impact on venues but also some of the laws are unfriendly. We’re trying to change them by supporting the owner more. For example right now people can complain about the noise rather easily.
“What we want to do is provide a good environment to encourage people to foster grass roots music and continue the culture in Aberdeen. We don’t always get the big money public ventures that other places have, but it’s great to think that we can have smaller private venues playing more radical and exciting music.”
A lifetime of jazz in Aberdeen
The Lord Provost has been a fan of jazz for most of his life saying he’s a bit “long in the tooth” to pinpoint when exactly he started enjoying the genre.
Mr Crockett describes how he has a “vast number” of jazz albums, but one that has particularly resonated with him is his recent purchase of a local community jazz band’s take on the classics.
The Blue Lamp Suite was recorded at the Blue Lamp and the Lord Provost says he already has his copy and more to give as gifts to friends.
On the album Mr Crockett said: “I was delighted to receive a copy of the Blue Lamp Suite and was really struck by the Big Band’s versions of a lot of jazz classics.”
The Lord Provost’s praise for the Community Jazz Big Band is not some move to jump on the band wagon and curry favour as he demonstrates that he’s a bit of a jazz aficionado, rattling off names of his favourite artists which include Eric Dolphy and Charlie Mingus.
Mr Crockett went on to say about the album: “Every type of jazz was really well represented and I was very impressed. I thought the female vocals were a particular strong point.”
Dedication to “legendary” publican Sandy Brown
The Blue Lamp Suite and the Community Jazz Big Band – a community run jazz band which is free for anyone to join – wouldn’t have been possible without Sandy Brown; the late publican and owner of the Blue Lamp who sadly passed away at the start of this year.
The Blue Lamp is an institution of Aberdeen having hosted live music and events in the city for over sixty years.
The Lord Provost says he has links to the Blue Lamp through his cousin who used to play in bands there.
Of Sandy Brown, Mr Crockett said; “I wasn’t close to him but I knew him over the years and what a contribution he made. A handful of people like Sandy – who keep the smaller venues going – have done an enormous amount for the city.”
Blue Lamp Suite was recorded last year by the Community Jazz Big Band. Band leader and senior lecturer in music education at Aberdeen University Pauline Black dedicated the album to Sandy who let the band rehearse in his pub.
Ms Black said: “Sandy was a legend for all types of music and all types of arts in Aberdeen and this is why we wanted to dedicate the album to him.
“He used to let us rehearse at the Blue Lamp which was a great place to be and it’s why we would like people to buy it – in support of Sandy and what he stood for.”
Former director of the World Saxophone Congress and professor at St Andrews University Richard Ingham composed arrangements for the album. Mr Ingham described the sounds of The Blue Lamp Suite as his impressions of the North East which include the cryptically titled ‘Union Street at 4:30am’.
Mr Ingham described what Sandy stood for by saying it was his willingness to include everyone that set the late publican apart.
Mr Ingham said: “Sandy was a tireless supporter of live jazz. That for me sums up what he did. Everyone was welcome at the Blue Lamp. It wasn’t just about the stars.”
Blue Lamp Suite can be purchased at bandcamp.com.
Enquiries into joining the Community Jazz Big Band should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.