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Proposed Island Jazz Electronic Archive

August 29, 2009

I’ve just spent time on Guy MacPherson’s (son of the legendary Fraser MacPherson) Vancouver Vintage blogsite devoted to the storied (and multi-imaged) history of the Vancouver jazz scene. http://vancouvervintage.blogspot.com/ It’s a fabulous resource that he’s building partly in honour of his late dad but mainly in recognition of what was (and still is) one of the greatest jazz scenes in North America. Guy had much of the material up on You Tube but was shut down. I’ll let him tell the story via a recent quote from the Vancouver Jazz Forum:

All these videos were on YouTube until they banned me for three clips that Warner Music flagged as copyright infringement, even though those standards were elsewhere on YouTube. I heard it was just a computer that recognizes certain note patterns, and YouTube errs on the side of caution. I couldn’t figure out a way to appeal. It took me this long to realize that I could just post the clips on my own blog. Duh!

Some of you will be aware of Victoria’s own Royal City Music Project,
http://rcmpsite.com/ which strives to document the history of music in this city, an ambitious and laudatory project to be sure, but one that from the sheer volume of the task doesn’t offer much in the way of documenting the Victoria jazz scene. Search the musician’s lists, for example, and you’ll find a few jazzers (Ian McDougall being one) scattered amongst the rock, blues, and folk folk, but it’s pretty thin through no fault of the site’s creator.

Which gets to the proposal. At a recent U-JAM meeting Dave Paulson suggested the need to archive U-JAM events to be sure the organization’s history (and that of jazz in Victoria) is remembered. Maybe Dave’s idea should be taken to the next level. How about a group of volunteers getting together to archive the history of jazz on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, a history that on a smaller scale is every bit as storied as Vancouver’s.

Not everyone, for example, will know that the great Fraser MacPherson began his career in Victoria – there’s some great shots of him as a young performer here on Guy’s site. And let’s not forget Ian McDougall who was a professional musician in Victoria by the age of 13. And Tom Vickery’s 24 years at Hermann’s, and … well, you get the idea.

The idea would be to make this an electronic archive, using all the internet technology available these days that could also be backed up with a directory of where the primary materials reside. Guy MacPherson is using a blog plus Flickr. Island Jazz has put a call out for photographic coverage of historical and contemporary jazz events for our own Flickr site, but ultimately this needs to be its own project, perhaps funded by a government grant of some sort.

Island Jazz could act as the communication hub for the project but it needs a dedicated individual or better yet group of individuals with some time to actually get it off the ground. Sounds like a great volunteer project for some retired jazz lovers.

Comments? Volunteers?

– Rick Gibbs

Categories: General
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