The Jazz Social: Jazz performance during COVID
Journal: Perfect Beat
Subject Areas: Popular Music
The Jazz Social was an online virtual jazz club which started during the first shutdowns for COVID in Australia from April to July 2020, now archived as ten videos on The Jazz Social YouTube channel. It was designed as an opportunity for musicians to perform and make up lost income when gigs disappeared overnight. The venture was arguably successful for a virtual jazz club: it employed 47 musicians, paying on average $116AUD for each performance; and each gig reached an average of 340 people, a considerably larger audience than a typical face-to-face jazz performance would attract. The Jazz Social gigs also brought together geographically diverse musicians and provided a platform for them to share music and discuss their experiences. With an understanding that Australia is entering a ‘new COVID normal environment’ which may have ongoing implications for face-to-face performance practice, this Riff article reflects on what The Jazz Social has revealed about the nature of jazz performance, collaboration, community, virtuality, and the limitations and affordances of new technologies in producing knowledge through improvisation.
Author: Leigh Carriage, Toby Wren