The live music, the atmosphere, and continuous improvement. Lundagård has met with the people behind Red Note Jazz club to find out what has made the club have such long lived success.
It is Sunday afternoon and outside the window, Lund is capsuled in a cloudy haze. But in the kitchen of the ninth floor student corridor at Dackegården, the air is warm and filled with laughter. From the speakers, jazz band Odd Frank can be heard, and a fragrant coffee scent fills the room.
The crew behind Red Note Jazz club have gathered to plan the last event of the semester in the jazz club, and the atmosphere so characteristic of the club is palpable also in this room.
Driven by love for jazz
The jazz club is driven by five members of Småland’s nation, and it is evident that the love for jazz is the foundation for their engagement. But not only that:
“The luxury of inviting musicians you want to see yourself ‘to your own living room’,” Daniel Berhe says.
But what is so amazing about jazz?
“Jazz is different from other kinds of music in that it is based on free improvisation, and a sort of playfulness is present in a completely different way compared with other genres,” Axel Anglert says.
“Moreover, each individual musician gets a chance of being the focus, rather than just the singer,” Anna Jonsson adds.
Much appreciated six semesters later
Already in 2013, the jazz club was started by Daniel Berhe and Rikard Stenlund, and after six semesters, it has become a legend of sorts, they believe.
“To start with, we never thought we were going to get live acts performing at every club night. But now, word has spread and loads of bands contact us and want to perform,” Rikard Stenlund says.
After the fika, the group go into one of the rooms in the corridor to have a listen to those bands that have been in touch asking to perform in the final club night of the semester. The club night is to be held in conjunction with Småland’s nation’s culture-political week, and will be open to the public. Therefore, the group want to make a splash and plan to book two acts instead of one.
The record player and computer run warm and there is one song after the other. The group discuss, taking many factors into consideration.
Want to have a 50/50 booking of men and women
Therefore, the group discuss questions such as, How does a band sound? What instruments are in the act? Is the gender ratio even, or is it just a bunch of dudes? How do the different acts work together, and which could possibly complement each other?
“Our goal is to have half our bookings be men, and half women. Sometimes that is hard, however, since about 75% of those who get in touch are male,” Anna Jonsson says.
The fact that the group have this goal is partly political, but they agree among themselves as well that jazz becomes more interesting if women are given the spotlight.
“From my perspective, our task is to bring out women in jazz, since I do believe that would enhance the jazz experience and creates a better dynamic in the acts. Furthermore, I myself think the atmosphere often is improved if there won’t be any competition of ball-size, entering the rehearsal space,” Axel Anglert says.
But other than the live acts and jazz: What have been the reasons why the club has had such success for such a long time?
“One thing that has been of great use is the fact that we have been able to have the same set-up for a longer period of time. That has made it possible for us to focus on the same thing, but still continually improve,” Daniel Berhe says.
In the beginning, the group hosted the club for free, and the main focus was spreading the word and inviting everyone they knew.
“I do believe that the social aspect is immensely important to succeed as well; the fact that you get to know each other outside work with the club too. That makes misunderstandings less frequent,” Axel Anglert says.
The group tells me about the fact that having other people who want to take part – in the bar and kitchen first and foremost – has been absolutely crucial. They also talk about how the members of Småland’s have come to embrace and appreciate jazz.
“And last but not least, we have our own atmosphere, with pillows on the floor, and how we decorate the venue itself,” Anna Jonsson says.
The final Red Note Jazz club of the semester
On stage: Makross and Into The Wild
When: 8.00 PM – 2.00 AM, 18 May
Where: Småland’s nation
Cost: 50 SEK
Translation: Richard Helander