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Chris de Saram with the DIVA award and link to article About Wakefield Jazz and its Work
Wakefield Jazz is a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 1987 by Alec and Faith Sykes, who nurtured the club from its inception to national recognition. They created an audience and made friends with the musicians. They also made several applications for grant funding, the most significant of which was the lottery grant, which provided a Yamaha grand piano and raised the club’s status enormously. Following Alec’s decision to “retire” from running the club after 17 years of hard labour, it was reconstituted to be run by a team of 10 volunteers including 3 “Officers” fulfilling the roles of Chairman, Secretary (promoter) and Treasurer. Alec is now a Life Vice President of Wakefield Jazz Club.

 
Wakefield Sports Club - aerial view

The club has had a long-term, friendly relationship with Wakefield Sports Club. They have allowed use of their bar for our presentations, provided for storage of equipment (including the piano) and agreed to modifications to the premises to suit our purposes, e.g. lighting installation, disabled access and display of notices. They are now licensed under the new legislation for performance of music, with the PPL and with the PRS. This last change stimulated a review of the financial arrangements of our relationship and we have negotiated a closer tie such that from 2006 Wakefield Jazz is now a Section of the Sports Club with representation on their board.

We provide an intimate club atmosphere in a room with a capacity up to 180. Musicians and audiences alike regularly comment on the special ambiance which develops during concerts – quite unlike the sterile distant relationship with some theatre audiences.

In 2009 a group, "Friends of Wakefield Jazz" was set up. This is a membership group with some voting rights and limited privileges so far, but aiming to support the club in a number of ways. There is currently no membership fee. The group has already led to investigation into the conversion of the Club into a Limited Company with Charitable status. A makeover for marketing purposes has also resulted in a unified "new look" for our marketing material such as our logo, website, posters and programmes. It is open for all to register as a member of The Friends - this can be done via this website in the "Contact" section

Hot food is available on the club premises before every gig and is popular with both members of the audience who come early to get a good seat and with the musicians we feed. There is also a fully licensed bar.


Programming Policy
The club’s music policy largely derives from the tastes of the audience built up over the history of the club. The aim is to provide the best National and International artists possible within the budget. In addition to established artists we aim to introduce bands / artists of quality emerging on the British scene and gaining critical approval / record deals / PRS support. This includes singers and instrumentalists of a wide variety of styles - though not including Traditional (New Orleans) jazz or freer improvised contemporary music.

We programme mainstream to accessible contemporary styles including occasional Latin music, Big Band and single instrument presentations (e.g. percussion bands, saxophone or guitar quartets) or solo artists. Most frequently heard are modern quartets to sextets.

We have a policy of encouraging young starters on the jazz scene giving occasional, though regular, opportunities to youngsters to do a short support set before the main band. This has sometimes led to an invitation to sit in with the band later in the evening and to further, career enhancing opportunities.

We present gigs on most Fridays with short breaks at Christmas and Easter and a longer break through July and August; nearly forty concerts each year.

Wakefield Jazz is a not-for-profit organisation supported by Wakefield MDC, Jazz Yorkshire and the Arts Council England (Yorkshire).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A bit about Wakefield Jazz