Shameless self promotion

Last month I was interviewed by Radio New Zealand for the Arts on Sunday programme. The interview focuses on my thesis research and my current research on Dave Brubeck’s tours to New Zealand. This past Sunday my interview was broadcast and if you’re interested you can find it here:



  1. Great interview! Following on from your remark that you realised one couldn’t make a living from playing jazz in this country, I was reminded of a chapter in James Lincoln Collier’s 1993 book “Jazz: The American Theme Song.” It’s called “Local Jazz” and deals with just that, the levels of the music below the big stars and names. Jazz in this country has been largely kept alive by avocational players. Some bands – e.g. The Society Jazzmen – went professional for a while but that didn’t last too long. So by and large jazz here, and in Aussie, was kept alive, and continues to be kept alive, by “local” jazz musicians, who rely on day jobs – inside or outside the music business – to put food on the table. An analogy could be drawn with golf – the cream of the sport make the money but it’s the huge number of amateurs that keep the clubs going. Bruce Johnson’s book “The Oxford Companion to Australian Jazz” details the “amateur” nature of the vast bulk of jazz musicians in that country. I put quotation marks around the word to emphasize its original meaning of someone who loves the music. Not to have to make a living from music frees a person up to play the music they love, not what someone else decides they want them to play. I look forward to hearing of your continuing researches into our music.

    1. Thanks for your comment Joe. You’re quite right, but very few people want to admit that much of jazz (and in fact much of the performing scene) is actually supported by the amateur players, much more so that the ‘professionals’. I completely agree that by not having to make a living there’s a greater freedom in what musicians can do. In fact many of the musicians that I researched in my thesis would actually be described as amateurs rather than professionals.

      1. Aleisha, Further to my remarks re the Society Jazzmen I spoke to Art Cummins (trumpeter) just now and he said that the band was fully professional for two years only. He could not recall any other jazz band that was fully professional, i.e. in which the members made their living entirely from playing jazz.

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