About Jazz Steps
JazzSteps promotes, supports and develops jazz in and around Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, working in association with a range of organisations and across a range of venues. With a focus on contemporary jazz, our varied and inventive programming spans jazz genres and is designed to engage a diverse audience as well as our loyal followers. We attract national and international performers on a regular basis as well as showcasing the talents of local and regional artists.
For 20 years (1997-2017) the Bonington Theatre at Arnold, Nottingham has been, and remains, our core venue. It provides essential ingredients for evenings of great jazz entertainment: high-quality sound reproduction, a fabulous Steinway grand piano, clear sight-lines from theatre-style seating, effective stage lighting, friendly staff and a comfortable bar, easy access via public transport, free parking and easy ticket bookings. JazzSteps facilitates the rest: top-class musicians and a welcoming atmosphere for our appreciative audiences.
In addition, we have developed over several years, a successful programme of taking jazz to audiences across the county using Libraries that double as community hubs. Initially in association with Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC), as of 2016, it is with Inspire, a “Community Benefit Society which delivers a range of cultural, art, library and learning services” that is funded by NCC, The Arts Council of England, Education and Skills funding agencies. Mini-tours of gigs on consecutive nights at different libraries will expand from three to four library venues in 2018: Worksop, Southwell, West Bridgford and Beeston.
JazzSteps promotes jazz and contemporary music in the locality, including the gigs organised by Lakeside Arts and is open to joint ventures and co-promotions. For instance, we were proud supporters of the Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition (sadly now discontinued). JazzSteps is always open to be contacted about initiatives connected with Jazz education and with offers of help.
A volunteer-run, not-for-profit (and not-for-loss!) organisation, JazzSteps benefits from the support of a range of organisations that include: Arts Council England, East Midlands Jazz (EMJAZZ), Gedling Borough Council, Inspire, the PRS Foundation and the Musicians’ Union. As a member of EMJAZZ, we work in close partnership, sharing expertise and best practice, with the four other core members.
JazzSteps is committed to jazz education in our locality in the broadest sense: supporting initiatives involving young people in education, local youth jazz bands (e.g. Nottingham Youth Jazz Orchestra & the Red Hot Band) plus adult ‘community jazz’ prformance (e.g. the Shipstone Street Jazz Orchestra & Jazz Workshop). We help mentor future jazz professionals (e.g. bass player and composer Mark Lewandowski, now studying at the Juilliard School, New York) and facilitate jazz workshops with visiting artists (e.g. PrestonGlasgowLowe and Tony Kofi) and through initiatives such as the 18-months Miles Ahead jazz education programme, collectively organised through EMJAZZ. This engaged teachers and students with jazz professionals such as Julian Joseph, Zoe Rahman, Tony Kofi, Corey Mwamba and Jan Kopinski. We have created numerous opportunities for youth and local bands to benefit from performing to audiences. Our policy of free admission for accompanied children to JazzSteps gigs at the Bonington Theatre is designed to encourage listening and learning from high-quality live jazz music.
Jazz is a music of surprise, of improvisation and constant innovation. JazzSteps aims to follow that spirit!