22/07/2019 – Quinn Wells
Things have not been easy for the society in the last few years! Since the loss of all of our government funding, we have been solely relying upon the minimal amount of revenue from gigs, and the countless hours from dedicated volunteers. The Perth jazz (and music) scene has evolved since it began, and with the introduction of so many new entertainment platforms, it is much harder to put ‘bums on seats’ at gigs. Many punters mention the ‘good old days’ to me at gigs, and how the Hyde Park Hotel used to be packed for the weekly gigs. I used to get disheartened by this, however, after much reflection, I remember that there was no Netflix in those days. Just ponder that for a moment. With this change, I believe that a society has to change with the times, and I haven’t seen this change happening with the PJS for too many years. When the Ellington Jazz Club began around ten years ago, jazz became part of the free-market, and what a time that was! Yet the PJS continued putting on weekly gigs. We can’t just keep doing what we did, because it worked thirty years ago, we have to evolve. So the committee posed the question several years ago “Why are we putting on regular gigs, when this is already being taken care of by several great venues around Perth?” Surely we have to offer something more than gigs that are already being hosted by venues, who will likely do a better job at marketing, and showcasing these artists. That’s when we came up with the PJS recording opportunity.
The current PJS committee has been so, so busy trying to keep things rolling! Since the creation of the recording competition in May 2018, we have barely had time to commit to anything else regarding the society. Thankfully, having a few new committee members on-board at the end of 2018, we have been able to begin having regular performances, to allow a platform for jazz and improvising artists around Perth. A huge thank you to the Ellington Jazz Club for hosting these events, and having faith that we would make it a success.
Last year the board re-wrote our constitution. It was in need of a massive overhaul! The main focus of the update, was to bring it to a modern context, and to be more inclusive of all people, and to have less opportunity for discrimination of minority groups. The Perth jazz scene has seen its fair share of discrimination for too many years, being dominated by a select group of white middle-class males. This has made it very difficult for anyone not fitting this mould to be part of this music scene. We have lost too many talented souls to our more accepting, and progressive, interstate, and overseas counterparts. As a white male myself, I need to acknowledge my place in this group, and, as chair, use my position to open opportunity up to those who haven’t had the same opportunities as myself, and many of us.
I’d like to thank all of our past and present members of the PJS. With your continued support, I believe that the PJS will continue to become a strong part of the modern Perth music scene, and provide opportunities for emerging jazz, and improvising artists around WA.