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Jazz Review - UK magazine

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Sign of the times I guess but Jazz Review the UK magazine so long edited by Richard Cook has been incorporated by Jazz Journal Publishing ( which AFAIK just stopped publishing it's own Jazz Journal).

All this according to the mailing I just received explaining the changes in ownership and title of the magazine. It's not really been the same since Richard Cook passed with some issues being light in content. The omission of a review of jazz CDs from 2008 in the Dec/Jan issue just past struck me as bizarre for a music magazine. I used to look forward to its arrival so hopefully the new title under Mark Gilbert's stewardship will come good again.

Presumably the combined readership of both the "Jazz Journal" and "Jazz Review" will allow it keep afloat and offer an alternative to the rather glossy superficiality of Jazzwise.

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Not sure this is too good a thing. The Jazz Journal was unremittingly tedious, dismal looking, dull and overlong features, late reviews and generally poor writing with a very narrow outlook generally. Jazz Review had much better writers and was more interesting covering a wide range of jazz styles and topics. Hopefully with Mark Gilbert at the helm the new magazine will be more Jazz Review than Jazz Journal.

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Not sure this is too good a thing. The Jazz Journal was unremittingly tedious, dismal looking, dull and overlong features, late reviews and generally poor writing with a very narrow outlook generally. Jazz Review had much better writers and was more interesting covering a wide range of jazz styles and topics. Hopefully with Mark Gilbert at the helm the new magazine will be more Jazz Review than Jazz Journal.

Oh? Maybe you could be a bit more specific as to the problems with JJ - for example just what was the "narrow outlook"?

Perhaps jazz magazines by their very nature are "unremittingly tedious, dismal looking, dull and overlong features,

late reviews and generally poor writing ....".

Afterall, hipness has long passed us by.

Q

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Hopefully with Mark Gilbert at the helm the new magazine will be more Jazz Review than Jazz Journal.

Hopefully they will model it on the old 'Jazz Monthly'. The best by far IMO - although it passed on nearly 40 years ago. Probably so good because of the line-up of critics/reviewers that they had. Almost an academic journal.

I'd wondered what happened to the forthcoming 'Jazz Review' - the latest issue was overdue and my local stockist had been expecting it but not yet received it.

I'll personally miss the old 'Jazz Journal', for all its faults. Some good articles usually to be found in there and I liked the Steve Voce column and the record reviews (admittedly though it's glory days were back in the 70s and 80s). Life goes on though !

Edited by sidewinder

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I gave up on Jazz Review about three years ago - took itself far too seriously. Some of the reviews were jazz snobbery in excelsis. I also got a bit tired of Richard Cook endlessly worrying about crossover performers at British jazz festivals. Though the main articles could be quite wonderful.

Jazzwise is a different animal - glossy, reflecting current releases and always trying to be up with the latest new jazz fashion. It might not be incisive but it's the longest surviving UK jazz magazine in my jazz listening lifetime to keep selling on the regular news stands (Jazz Jorurnal was something you had to hunt for!). I'm sure other Brits will recall a string of attempts in the late 80s/early 90s that fell apart after six or seven issues - often with CDs on the front cover.

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That 'Jazz FM' magazine was actually quite good for a while - but only lasted a year or so until the 80s filofax Yuppies turned away from jazz !

Of all the magazines currently out there, I prefer 'Jazz Review'. JazzWise is OK and it's good that it's readily accessible - however I find some of the articles of borderline interest.

Edited by sidewinder

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That 'Jazz FM' magazine was actually quite good for a while - but only lasted a year or so until the 80s filofax Yuppies turned away from jazz !

Of all the magazines currently out there, I prefer 'Jazz Review'. JazzWise is OK and it's good that it's readily accessible - however I find some of the articles of borderline interest.

I find in Jazzwise there are too many articles that appear to be little more than promo slots for new releases with little in the way of critical evaluation of what's on offer. The reviews are also too brief.

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I find in Jazzwise there are too many articles that appear to be little more than promo slots for new releases with little in the way of critical evaluation of what's on offer. The reviews are also too brief.

True. But I don't think it aims to be an intellectual magazine with critical evaluation. More a general interest magazine. I find it useful to see what's coming up (and to annoy myself by reading Stuart Nicholson's repetitive rants!).

I can cope with gushing superficiality; it's the Olympian disdain of the critical "Great Mind" that drives me nuts.

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I like 'The Colonel' myself - a very open-minded chap.. :lol:

Edited by sidewinder

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Not sure this is too good a thing. The Jazz Journal was unremittingly tedious, dismal looking, dull and overlong features, late reviews and generally poor writing with a very narrow outlook generally. Jazz Review had much better writers and was more interesting covering a wide range of jazz styles and topics. Hopefully with Mark Gilbert at the helm the new magazine will be more Jazz Review than Jazz Journal.

Oh? Maybe you could be a bit more specific as to the problems with JJ - for example just what was the "narrow outlook"?

Perhaps jazz magazines by their very nature are "unremittingly tedious, dismal looking, dull and overlong features,

late reviews and generally poor writing ....".

Afterall, hipness has long passed us by.

Q

Whoa there Q, hipness has definitely long passed, though I doubt if I was ever hip in the first place. I'm what you might call a mordern version of the mouldy fig - I'm firmly rooted in hard bop.

I bought my first JJ in February 1958 and was an avid reader until about 10 years ago but I've seen it fairly regularly since. Unfortunately I do find it's concentration pre bop jazz disapppoining. Those long interviews of minor figures needed editing badly. And many reviews are so late that the cds are no longer available. But one particular thing stands out - several yeras ago the editor on receiving an album by a modern trombonist (Ray Anderson?) stated in an editorial that readers could be assured that such music would not be reviewed in JJ. Okay but hardly a good quality in a jazz magazine. I for one like to know what is going on even if I don't want to make the effort the listen to it.

What do I want from a jazz mag? Up to date reviews, analysis, retrospects in fact anything to help enjoy and understand the music. JJ didn't offer this. Where are the good writers these days equal to say Max Harrison and Alun Morgan for example. Fortunately there are still good pieces/reviews by Jack Cooke, Ron Atkins and Brian Priestley who manage to be entertaining and knowledgable.

But both JR and Jazzwise leave me pretty cold. As as been pointed out both, imo, concentrate too much on promoting current tours and new releases. Presumably they have to do this as part ot their relationship with the promoters or else they have nothing better to print.

So over ther years I've had a go at most magazines, standouts are the old US Jazz Review, Jazz Monthly, Jazz FM and the early issues of Wire.

An afterthought, if I remember correctly Mark Gilbert was associated with JJ in its better days so there is hope for the new magazine. I still have my doubts thopugh!

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Max Harrison and Alun Morgan for example.

Along with Charles Fox, part of the mighty triumvirate. Their reviews were/are invariably worth reading.

Jazz Journal always did court controversy. I recall a 'campaign' against banjos in jazz back in the 70s - it was very funny at the time.

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Max Harrison and Alun Morgan for example.

Along with Charles Fox, part of the mighty triumvirate. Their reviews were/are invariably worth reading.

Jazz Journal always did court controversy. I recall a 'campaign' against banjos in jazz back in the 70s - it was very funny at the time.

How could I have overlooked Charles Fox. Particularly as I knew him.

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How could I have overlooked Charles Fox. Particularly as I knew him.

Yes, his Radio 3 shows ('Jazz Today' and 'Jazz In Britain') were superb. He certainly influenced my choice in listening.

Some of my Blue Note LPs also have 'CF' scribbled on the back - they were his review copies. Mark of Quality !

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No sign of the May issue yet!

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My copy arrived this morning. Still looks like JJI inside and out but there is some advertising. A layout revamp is promised. Seems to be a decent and varied number of cd reviews. A lot of space is taken up by 'record of the year'. Too soon to pass judgement.

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Up again for this very old thread but it would seem that the ‘new’ Jazz Journal is stopping its print version effective from January and going online only. Personally I am saddened by this, as the magazine under Mark Gilbert’s helm was always a welcome read. End of an era..

Edited by sidewinder

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Yes, sad news.  Nevertheless I was always pleased to have the magazine arrive but ended up disappointed after reading it.   One of the best things in recent issues was Simon Spillett's observations of the current jazz scene.

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I hear you, John, would concur with that view. There’s an article on Mike Osborne in this month’s copy - interesting but more depth would have helped. Last month’s article on Ronnie Ross was welcome but how they omitted coverage of ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’ defeats me. Ironically, Simon S. has made a return to print in this month’s copy, having departed several months ago !

Edited by sidewinder

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