Sad to announce that Mary Greig, the indefatigable powerhouse behind the magazine Jazz in London, is having to step down after a mind-bending 43 years.
Think about that for a moment. 43 years, month in month out, listing every jazz gig in London and surrounding areas. Being supportive, patient and good-humoured with everyone, bigshot or not, who’s played a flat nine in anger over more than four decades. (And if you know musicians as I do, you’ll appreciate that impressing on them the importance of a deadline can be a bit like trying to teach trigonometry to an armadillo.)
It has been, as we say in the vernacular, one hell of a residency.
People really do seek out and read Jazz in London. Punters read it to find the gigs; musicians the same (but they also treat it as a sort of jazz version of The Stage).
It’s been a tireless one-woman show. JIL isn’t owned and managed by some publishing or promotional monolith, it has remained steadfastly independent. As with so much that’s good in the jazz world, it’s always been defiantly uncommercial.
Mary has also scrupulously stuck to a sort of 3Fs policy – “fair, no fear, no favour” – it’s all info, no editorial. You can get a listing for a gig in a chip shop (as long as you’re actually playing jazz, not saveloy grunge or something like that).
She has never sought the limelight either – although a great many musicians count her a friend, only a handful even know what she actually looks like.
I gather she’s been proposed for a Parliamentary Jazz Award, under the Services to Jazz category, and I for one will be backing her. It’s seems the very least we can do. You can add your voice here, but you’ll need to get your skates on – nominations close on 18 February.