Image Credit: Nadia Mehab Carveth
A basement Jazz venue in the heart of the city, the Blue Arrow is decorated with deeply coloured Timorous Beasties wallpaper, wood panelling and red theatre lights washing the brick walls. Cabaret tables with chequered cloths draw the eye to the obvious focus of the room - a stage, bathed in light with a piano at the centre.
With decades of experience in the event, entertainment and music businesses working on a diverse range of projects, the team behind the Blue Arrow have for many years been finessing the art of making a room bustle with life, driven by music, mood and the innate need to be moved, both physically and emotionally. Willie Knox, Cheryl Chadha and Iain Maclean have come together to give Jazz the home it deserves in Scotland’s Music City.
With The Rio Club Pop up’s forming a key part of the Glasgow Jazz festival for 3 years, and Scat 23 Jazz giving an outlet for the emerging, edgy Jazz stars of the future it was an obvious choice to make Jazz the focus of this new basement venue. Pop up events in the last few weeks have allowed the Blue Arrow team to test out the space and have been highly praised by the lucky few customers who have witnessed the birth of the exciting new venue.
One reveller described his experience of the venue: “From the moment you set foot on the top step of the narrow staircase and descend to the opulent interior the venue just screams Jazz Club… then the first note is played and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.”
Widely recognised as a major international cultural centre, Glasgow is the music capital of Scotland and the largest music economy in the UK outside of London.
One of the founding members of this new venture, Willie Knox co-ordinated the BBC Sound City Project for Glasgow in 1994 and was quoted at the time saying “Scotland has already set the pace in terms of music-industry training with the established college courses ... But there's no reason why Glasgow shouldn't become the jewel in the European crown.”
Things have moved forward dramatically since those days and yet, before now, there hasn’t been a bespoke jazz venue in the city.
The Blue Arrow founders elaborate on the core objectives of the new venue: “So much of the best music in the world has its roots in jazz and we hope to provide a fertile ground for those roots to grow and inspire the new generation, just like it did 100 years ago. It’s about passion and expression and freedom. Jazz is experiencing resurgence in major cities across the UK and this new venue will provide a consistent and prevailing platform from which this revival can flourish in our multicultural city.
“Glasgow has always been an international city, visitor numbers now show that it’s still a place which people come to for culture and fun. We want to provide world class entertainment for those visitors and for the people of Glasgow. We are determined that the best musicians will be on the stage, whether they are from the other side of the world or from round the corner, its talent that sets them apart. Last year the Glasgow Life, the cultural arm of Glasgow City Council, launched an initiative to bring one million new visitors to the city by 2023, with culture and music as a key driver for these increased visitor numbers.”
The Blue Arrow Club will embrace the new generation of Jazz performers by nurturing the talent of the young musicians who are finding a fresh voice through the genre, but whilst doing so the Club will always recognise the roots and heritage of the music, the programme will respect and reference those who took the first steps on the Journey and pay our dues to the players who have shaped the scene.
The Blue Arrow will officially launch on Sunday 18th February and a fantastic programme of events has already been confirmed, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
For more information on The Blue Arrow Club please go to: www.thebluearrow.co.uk
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