“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe”. H. G. Wells

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe”, so said H. G. Wells.
Is Education no longer a human right, or a visible symptom of a mature society?

Do we want to see this?

In the face of impending and stringent cuts in education (as well as all public services), it is worth remembering that many people continue to believe that education is a human right, not a privilege:

“Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits. Yet millions of children and adults remain deprived of educational opportunities, many as a result of poverty... click here for more from the UNESCO website.

The UK Human Rights Act (1998) states:
Article 2
Right to education
“No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.”
For more from the Office of Public Sector Information, click here

For the galling face of corporate of education, see the Guardian on May 18th…click here

See the Guardian, May 18th 2010

If you are interested in the value that great minds have placed on education, see some of these excerpts on this very accessible site, click here

First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards. Mark Twain

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. John Dewey

I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform. John Dewey

Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it. Marion Wright Edelman

There is no greater crime than to stand between a man and his development; to take any law or institution and put it around him like a collar, and fasten it there, so that as he grows and enlarges, he presses against it till he suffocates and dies. Henry Ward Beecher

Remember that our nation’s first great leaders were also our first great scholars. John F Kennedy

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Thomas Jefferson

Education: a debt due from present to future generations. George Peabody

What are your favourite quotations about education?


Simon Purcell Quintet at Ronnie Scott’s – June 4th and 5th

Simon Purcell at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (photo by Damian Duncan)

Simon Purcell’s Quintet will be appearing at Ronnie Scott’s Club on June 4th and 5th, opposite the great guitarist Alan Holdsworth (click here for Ronnie’s website). The band with Chris Batchelor (trpt), Julian Siegel (saxes), Gene Calderazzo (dms) and Mike Janisch (bass) will be playing some new material, so do come down.

Man making a difference

Cleveland Watkiss is a man making a difference. It is some time since Cleveland’s birthday gig at the Queen Elisabeth Hall in November 2009, which brought together 40 musicians from across the generations, peer groups and genres. A devout believer in musical multiculturalism, and innovation informed by the traditions, it is worth watching this musician’s activity.

Cleveland Watkiss with pupils from primary school in Hackney (photo by Damian Duncan)

To find out more about Cleveland, click here.

British Jazz – Pause for Thought

All-star British line up from the late 1960s

The sad passing of Jeff Clyne, Peter King, John Dankworth and recently, Ken Baldock represents a distancing of the eras of jazz in Britain. It is worth considering the achievements of the pioneering jazz musicians in the post-war years, establishing bebop first-hand, producing several generations of formidable artists who, petty international jealousies aside, could hold their own anywhere in the world, and who ultimately bequeathed a recognisable sense of “British Jazz”.

The incredible richness of jazz talent to be heard throughout the UK today would have taken longer to establish itself if not for John Dankworth, Kenny Graham, Phil Seaman, Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Stan Tracey et al, followed by the developments of Joe Harriot, Chris McGregor, Michael Garrick, John Surman, Tony Coe, Gordon Beck, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Bobby Wellins, Tony Oxley, Evan Parker and Derek Bailey – there are many more. Others will also point to the achievements of the Revivalists such as Ken Colyer and George Webb, while the music of Miles Davis music drew upon major contributions from Victor Feldman, Dave Holland and John McLaughlin.

You can start to find out more by investigating some of these links.
Gordon Beck and Tony Oxley (Taunton 1991) – click here.
Gordon Beck (on French television with Phil Woods in 1969) – click here.
Gordon Beck (more with Phil Woods) – click here.
Gordon Beck (even more with Phil Woods) – click here.
British Modern Jazz – from the 1940s to mid 1960s – click here.
Jazz Britannia (BBC TV) – click here.
Ronnie Scott and Victor Feldman (BBC Jazz 625 recorded in1964) – click here.
John Surman in Bergamo (Italy) in 2002 with John Taylor, John Marshall and Chris Laurence – click here.
Kenny Wheeler (BBC Documentary 1977) – click here for part 1 and part 2.
Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzman, Gordon Beck, Tony Oxley, Dieter Ilg –  click here.

Swinging in 7 is hard – Ronan’s point.

There’s a lot of hot air and conflicting opinion amongst jazz musicians and within the music colleges regarding playing and improvising in odd metres. At last there are some wise and measured thoughts in Ronan Guilfoyle’s excellent blog.

Check out his recent post “Whatever Happened to Odd Metre Swing?