In the 1950s and ’60s, co‐operative jazz clubs such as Vancouver’s Cellar, Edmonton’s Yardbird Suite, and Halifax’s 777 Barrington Street opened their doors in response to new forms of jazz expression emerging after the war and a lack of available performance spaces outside major urban centres. Operated on a not‐for-profit basis by the musicians themselves, these hip new clubs eschewed commercial concerns and created spaces where young jazz musicians could practise their art and stay close to home.
This book looks at this unique period in the development of jazz in Canada. Centered on Vancouver’s legendary Cellar club, as well as co-ops in four other cities, it explores the ways in which these clubs functioned not only as sites for the performance and exploration of jazz but also as magnets for postwar countercultural expression in other arts, such as literature, poetry, painting, theatre, and film. Marian Jago’s deft combination of new, original research with archival evidence, interviews, oral testimony, and photographs, allows us to witness the beginnings of a pan-Canadian jazz scene; the emergence of key Canadian jazz figures, such as P.J. Perry, Don Thompson, and Terry Clark; as well as early development in the careers of figures such as Paul Bley and Ornette Coleman.
Live at the Cellar shines a light on the fascinating musical lives and social interactions of the Canadian jazz musicians who performed at the Cellar and other jazz co-ops in the 1950s and ’60s. Although the clubs have long been shuttered, in their day they created a new and infectious energy for jazz that paved the way for the jazz societies, radio programs, festivals, and university-level courses that are so much a part of the Canadian jazz scene today.
This book will appeal to jazz enthusiasts, musicologists, ethnomusicologists, ethnographers, cultural studies scholars, and those who are passionate about the history of Vancouver’s music scene.
The Cellar on Watson Street was a huge part Vancouver’s jazz history and had an obvious influence on my own club, The Cellar on Broadway. I would’ve given anything to be around during the heyday of Vancouver’s jazz co-ops – this book helps me close my eyes and imagine what it was like to be there!
Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.Subscribe to our newsletter now
Read past newsletters