The UK’s only jazz industry conference confirms heavyweight list of expert speakers for November event in London

Celebrated musician and educator Orphy Robinson MBE, award-winning journalist Kevin Le Gendre, music industry changemaker Paulette Long OBE and Europe Jazz Network president Wim Wabbes to appear at the 2021 JPN Conference

‘A New Perspective’ is set to take place online and in-person at the Southbank Centre in London

The Jazz Promotion Network (JPN), the only UK and Ireland-wide network of jazz industry professionals has confirmed that the former Blue Note artist and award-winning educator Orphy Robinson, journalist and author Kevin Le Gendre and Europe Jazz Network president Wim Wabbes will appear at its annual conference this November.

Titled ‘A New Perspective’, the conference will take place online and in-person on the 19th and 20th November in association with the EJG London Jazz Festival. With the insight of experts from across the jazz sector and wider music industry, the conference will explore topics such as climate change, the post-Covid economy, streaming services, pathways into the music sector and the many complex levels of diversity in jazz.

Featuring industry roundtables, keynote speeches, artist showcases and networking opportunities, ‘A New Perspective’ is aimed at those working in the jazz industry as well as other creative professionals looking to gain a stronger understanding of the burgeoning sector.

The event will kick off with an online-only programme on Friday 19th November followed by an in-person event at the Southbank Centre in London on the 20th which will be live-streamed for remote attendees.

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator Orphy Robinson has been an integral part of the UK jazz scene for over 40 years, rising to prominence in the mid-1980s as an original member of the trailblazing musical collective, the Jazz Warriors.

Robinson went on to record five critically acclaimed albums during the 1990s on Blue Note Records, making him one of the first and only British musicians to be signed to the iconic jazz label.

Kevin Le Gendre is a journalist, author and broadcaster specialising in black music. He’s the deputy editor of Echoes Magazine and has contributed to the likes of Jazzwise, The Guardian, The Independent, Music Week and BBC Radio 3’s J to Z. Le Gendre has also written two critically acclaimed books on the history of black music.

Wim Wabbes is the Artistic Director of Handelbeurs Concert Hall and a climate change activist who founded Take The Green Train, a Europe Jazz Network initiative that addresses environmental issues facing the arts and cultural sector. His Friday keynote will explore the importance of international collaboration and how the jazz sector can respond to the growing threat of climate change. 

The programme will also feature speakers and facilitators from the wider music sector, including Natalie South-Law from the pioneering disability-led charity Attitude is Everything, Ian Smith, an expert in international touring post-Brexitand Paulette Long OBE, former board director for both the Music Publishers Association and PRS for Music.

Along with being a founding member of the Alliance for Diversity in Music & Media, Long is also the current deputy chair of the UK Music Diversity Task Force and co-chair of the BPI Equality and Justice Advisory Group.

The JPN conference will conclude with two artist showcases from Take Five, an artist development scheme from the sector-leading live music production company, Serious. Presented as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, the concerts will feature new and emerging talent such as Romarna Campbell, J Frisco and John Pope.

JPN Chair and CEO of Manchester Jazz Festival, Steve Mead commented: “This year’s conference will be a hybrid of in-person and onlineevents, enabling us to connect UK-wide while also providing an exciting chance to come face-to-face for the first time in almost two years.

“We’ve all missed the opportunity to be with peers and share experiences during one of the most difficult periods that our sector has faced. This conference is all about coming back together and embracing the challenges ahead as we eagerly look towards the future.”

The conference will also include board elections as part of its annual AGM with four positions open for applications. JPN is urging jazz professionals from across the UK and Ireland to stand for the opportunity to shape the future direction of JPN.

Tickets for ‘A New Perspective’ are on sale now and are priced at £55 for full access or £20 for access to all online events. Current members of JPN are eligible for a free conference pass. Under 30s and musicians are eligible for reduced tickets priced at £30 for full access and £10 for online access.

Tickets are available from Eventbrite.

About Jazz Promotion Network

The Jazz Promotion Network aims to advance and support professional development, information exchange and partnership opportunities for the UK & Irish jazz industry, artists and audiences.

A collaborative network that enables the diverse UK & Irish jazz sector to thrive, innovate and inspire.

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