Corey Mwamba


Try New Things!

I read a review about Derby Jazz's first gig this year, which was very good. However, there was something that came out of the review that I want to talk about. It isn't a criticism of the article, but a spotting of a problem that has been highlighted by the article. This is mainly for Derby people, but I am pretty certain that others will have opinions too.

Here is the paragraph.

I'm out of my depth here, I'll admit. The Derby Jazz initiative and the efforts of Corey Mwamba and company have been on my radar for a while now. I've been encouraged to spread my wings a bit and experience something other than post rock and indie—which I've no aversion to do—but jazz? It's too big a beast and I've no idea how it works [...]

Within this, the reviewer knows my name. Derby only has 300,000 people (or thereabouts). I am very easy to find. I wouldn't say that I completely "know how jazz works"—and would argue that "knowing how it works" is not actually the main point anyway—but I do have very... shall we say, detailed... experiences and knowledge of jazz and improvised music. And again; I am easy to find. So if you want to ask something about jazz, find me and ask me. If I have the free time, I am happy to talk about music, especially improvising and jazz.

Also, I have been in the arts scene in Derby for A Very Long Time (longer, in fact, than all but one of the heads of the large arts organisations in Derby). This means that I remember the openness we used to have here, especially when it comes to talking to other artists. I realise that the post-rock and indie scenes here have worked quite differently, but from my perspective working with various communities, musicians, and dancers, it is all about the openness.

So if you see me, then approach me, be a nice human being, and let's have a conversation. I can't do everything, I do have limits. But I promise to be forthcoming with information and help, as much as I can. I could do with some help with that. If you'd like to help, please let me know!

And: Try New Things! Because the music that Derby Jazz and Out Front! programme are not divorced from what is happening in your world. I have the joy to work in a vast diverse field of music-making, and I just want to bring it here so that you can listen to it. No one is expecting anyone to like everything. But if we don't have the opportunity to access the arts here, then we are a poorer place for it.

comments (1)

Liam Noble

22nd Feb 2018 | 10:05am

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately (actually for thirty years). The possibility of hearing something you don’t understand “fully” and enjoying it. The hope that this is possible is what keeps us going as musicians. Conversely, it’s also possible to have new (and to some people, obscure seeming) reactions to familiar, “accessible” (popular?) music. The current fear of not understanding, which feels like it’s connected another fear, elitism, stops people trying new things I guess. Also the fear of leaving comments, which I am overcoming as we speak, stops us talking about it. I salute you and others who have the tenacity to deal with all this and generate work for us all!

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