Fancy yourself the next Miles Davis or Dizzy Gillespie? The current Musical Director of LUU Jazz and Blues Society tells Society how you can get involved whilst at Leeds.
The Jazz and Blues Society fills a much needed space among the performance societies at Leeds University. People from all backgrounds and abilities come to university with a desire to get involved in the music scene, and we offer a platform for them to do that. We have our own non-auditioned Big Band which plays a wide range of music, from classic tunes like In The Mood and Fly Me To The Moon, to more modern hits like Valerie and Play That Funky Music White Boy, and plans to venture into the realms of neo-soul and jazz fusion with the likes of Snarky Puppy and Dave Weckl. The band welcomes players of any ability, from seasoned giggers to people who just like to sing the odd jazz song to themselves in the shower and everything in-between.
As a musician, hanging around with fellow musicians is invaluable. Not only is it great fun, it means that you become part of the ‘music scene’ which makes it easier to form your own band. We get many gig offers as a society, some of which aren’t suitable for big bands, so if you’re in the society and have your own band we can help you!
For those who don’t play an instrument but enjoy listening to jazz, blues, soul and funk, the Jazz and Blues Society offers a hub for like-minded people to get to know each other and make some new friends. As a society we have regular get-togethers in Old Bar after our Monday rehearsal, and we are always on the lookout for gigs in Leeds and beyond. Plans are underway to organise our first ever official Jazz and Blues trip, watch this space!
As a society, we also do regular socials. A favourite of ours is Hifi’s ‘Move On Up’ every Wednesday, and we also frequent the Sunday joints which feature a live band and free entry! Highlights from last year’s social calendar include a ‘Jazz Standard’ themed Otley Run (great for jazzers but prizes for any of the general public who worked it out), an 80s themed night at Canal Mills and of course, our infamous house crawl. A real treat for members at the end of the year, last year saw five houses host five different genres of music in a night to remember.
“As a musician, hanging around with fellow musicians is invaluable. Not only is it great fun, it means that you become part of the ‘music scene’ which makes it easier to form your own band”
We also have many new and exciting events planned for the year ahead. Our chilled monthly jams at Hyde Park Book Club on the second Sunday of every month are now well established, and owing to a highly successful gig at the Night Market we now also have a more upbeat jam at Terrace every month! We enjoy a good relationship with many societies including SwingSoc and LUUMS – one of our standout events last year was an amazing 1930s night of live jazz and dancing with SwingSoc. There are many ideas for collaboration in the pipeline, including a huge mashup with the Medic big band, more details to follow!
Membership for the year is just £5, which allows you to play and gig in our big band, as well as giving you deals on socials – reduced entry and a free shot at Hifi means you have made your money back in just one social! So if you fancy a more relaxed approach to music at the university, with an opportunity to hang out with like-minded people at a mix of wild and casual socials and great gigs, look no further than the Jazz and Blues Society.
Musical Director, Jazz and Blues Society