Googling the contenders for "jazz capital of Europe"

VOTE NOW ! Can London stake a claim to be the jazz capital of Europe? The outcome of the poll on the left will be interesting . Voting is now open , so you can nominate Europe's jazz capital. It will close on May 28th which is a week before the European elections.

A LOT of European musicians based in London don't need much persuading- they tell me London already is the place to be.

Let's investigate the claim with a bit of help from Google:

A search gives five existing contenders, using the phrases :

"jazz capital of Europe" and
"Europe's jazz capital".


The first stage must to be to eliminate the outsiders.

First outsider: Frankfurt. A few references only. I am prepared to be shot down in flames by Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (born in Silesia now part of Poland by the way) or by anyone else. But I will use the John McEnroe defence: Surely nobody can ask a Londoner to believe that the city (pictured above) looked over by the Dom Sankt Bartholomäus has a serious claim. Or can they?

Second outsider : Somerset. I kid you not. There are a number of links to an article from the Independent by the late Miles Kington mainly based on the undoubted facts that Iain Ballamy had set up home there, and that he routinely had a good time.

Which gets us down to THREE . Drum Roll.


Copenhagen. This claim mainly revolves around the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, now in its 31st year. If you want a quick history of Danish jazz, which doesn't make the claim, here is an official communication on the subject from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Paris. Paris gets more mentions than any of the other three. But often in sentences referring to the past...such as :

"Sidney Bechet died in 1959, on his birthday in Paris, at the time the unchallenged jazz capital of Europe."


If we accept the contentious assertion that London is in Europe....then surely it's..... London: I can only find the claim being made so far once, by Keith Porter of Common Ground Radio, in a transcribed conversation.

From today following phrase will now be Google-able, here, for the first time

"Welcome to London, jazz capital of Europe."


3 comments:

  1. Oliver Weindling of the Towerofjazz blog has picked up this story:

    The Londonjazz blog has contenders for the capital of European jazz. To the list that Seb suggests I'd like to add:

    Amsterdam: home of the incredible Bimhuis, Willem Breuker, Han Bennink, Benjamin Herman etc

    Berlin: Just a buzzing city. Bands like em, a free scene inherited from East Berlin (Petrowsky etc). Has attracted Tom Arthurs to its bosom recently.

    Paris: Just a great city, home of Michel Portal, Martial Solal, Marc Ducret etc. with all the Africans adding to the buzz

    Cologne: Stadtgarten venue, great festivals nearby such as Moers and Leverkusen, conservatoire which has the likes of John Taylor teaching there. Musicians in the area such as Simon Nabatov, Florian Ross.

    Vienna: Vienna Art Orchestra has acted as the hub for over 30 years. Jazz festivals there and in Wiesen, Porgy and Bess club is probably the best in Europe (after Ronnies and Vortex, of course)
    ANY MORE??????

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  2. I think Berlin should be capital of jazz ;)

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