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In the ’60s, when I was an impressionable, prepubescent lad growing up in New Jersey, there was an undeniable disruption in music in the United States, largely emanating from across the Atlantic. Britain’s “The” bands — The Beatles, The Who, The Hollies, The Animals, The Moody Blues, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five and others — were changing the pop-music landscape in the United States. As evidenced by George’s Benson’s The Other Side of Abbey Road and other recordings, the Brit invaders were also influencing the American jazz landscape, even as American musicians continued to influence the British jazz scene. I knew nothing about jazz back then, but I credit the British bands for cultivating my impressionable musical palate and turning me into a music freak.
Trying to conjure that ’60s buzz during a family vacation in Europe two years ago, I dragged my wife and kids to some of London’s most iconic music spots. For instance, we stayed at the Cumberland Hotel in the West End, which is where Jimi Hendrix often resided while in London; it’s where he gave his last interview a week before he died in 1970, and it’s listed as his residence on his death certificate. In the mornings, at a restaurant across the street, I attended business meetings with various parties to discuss how I could best introduce JAZZIZ to a UK readership. The rest of the time, my family and I took in the sites. On the crossing at Abbey Road (famously depicted on The Beatles' final studio album), just outside the entrance to Abbey Road Studios, I couldn’t resist asking a passing tourist to take a photo of us on my phone. That’s me, my wife and two of our kids in the picture below.
Among the outcomes from that trip to London was learning about the city’s vibrant jazz scene and securing JAZZIZ distribution in the United Kingdom. This issue, in fact, will be the first to occupy space on British newsstands. To welcome our new readers, I thought it’d be a good idea to cover London’s diverse and exciting jazz scene. Sure, London has produced its share of stellar jazz musicians over the years, but these days an array of vital young artists are flourishing in the city’s many jazz-friendly venues, and, like their rock predecessors in the 1960s, they are beginning to heavily influence a young crop of American musicians.
In the months and years to come, we hope to strengthen and deepen our relationship with England and the entire United Kingdom. For now, I’d simply like to say that it is our great pleasure to make the acquaintance of our new friends across the pond. —Michael Fagien