chapter  6
Collective Cultures and Live Jazz in Birmingham
ByTim Wall, Simon Barber
Pages 15

In this chapter we are interested in exploring how live jazz is created in a single city and in doing so we want to highlight the cultural geography and politics of the places and people in Birmingham, one of the UK’s major cities. Our research highlights the role of collectives, not only because they represent an important, and relatively new, organizing principle within the city, but also because they bring other ways of ordering jazz into a new perspective. As we have shown in some earlier work on collectives in contemporary British jazz, these forms of organization are not unique to Birmingham and they tend to have a strong association with a particular generation of young, conservatoiretrained players.1 Collective organization is not simply or directly the result of a jazz education, however, and as we detailed, it is more explicitly the result of a desire among members of the collective to deal with issues of promotion and audience engagement within the local jazz economy, as well as create spaces in which they can play as individuals and as members of a group. As we show, these musicians have created a self-sustaining scene built on a range of venues that overlap and cohabit with a number of other live jazz scenes, and other forms of jazz activity.