After 10+ years of developing JBGB Events, which with your support has become a major force on the London Jazz Scene, it's time to embrace a new work plan
From January 2024, I become part of the Pizza Express Live Jazz Management team, creating, and presenting concerts at their Dean Street, Holborn, and Chelsea venues.
This development allows me to spend more time on building the best concerts for you, with the Pizza Express team handling the important administrative, payment, VAT, performing rights etc which with over 80 JBGB Events concerts in 2023 had become a significant burden on our limited resources.
Our focus will be on developing Big Band Sunday lunches with Gareth Lockrane, Simon Spillett , Nikki Iles, NYJO, Tom Smith and so many more plus, the major artists including Claire Martin, Clare Teal, Elaine Delmar, Derek Nash, Alan Barnes, Mark Nightingale et all, not overlooking our successful Christmas party Jazz Lunchtimes in December.
We retain our established JBGB Events brand and hope you will continue to support our major live music plans
Our successful relationships with the jazz cabaret venue Crazy Coqs will continue with several concerts
In thanking you for your support over many years we hope you will find many concert in 2024 and hopefully beyond from us that you will come to and enjoy.
A life of music
Growing up with a piano playing, speech training, school headmistress mother, John Billett could never escape his surroundings where live music was a glorious feature of every day life.
Taking in all the music grades in piano, music theory and singing, John joined the Exeter Cathedral Choir, becoming Head Boy, studied with the Royal School of Church Music and was twice chosen "RSCM Choirboy of the year" in consecutive years.
His jazz inspiration came from next door where the Crescent City Stompers rehearsed. At the age of 8 John learned the thrill of syncopation and the surprise of improvisation, teaching himself jazz piano, guitar and banjo. Suitably inspired he formed his "boy band" The Rivermen skiffle group and played traditional jazz with the Jazz Cavaliers.
He moved to the back row of the choir as a counter-tenor; joined Exeter Little Theatre appearing regularly in musicals, Gilbert & Sullivan and pantomime. He developed his jazz piano style listening to expensive imported US recordings through the 1960's and beyond.
Having left the West Country he found himself playing modern jazz piano at venues in London and the South East and was one of the earliest adopters of a Moog Synthesiser.
Pursuing his singing interests he joined the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus performing all the major choral works at The Proms in The Royal Albert Hall, London's Festival Hall, plus the Edinburgh and Bath Festivals and appeared on many recordings of great classical works. He also sang extensively with the London Philharmonic Choir and The John Alldis Choir. He started and built his own four part harmony a-Capella choir performing for charitable events.
He performed his 45 minute one man cabaret show at London's Dorchester Hotel, playing piano and singing interspersed with topical light hearted commentaries.
Music performances took a back seat for several years, as family and business building challenges and opportunities took their toll on rehearsal time, whilst his record collection blossomed as did listening to great live jazz performances across the world.
Having sold his business interests and having more available time, the challenge of presenting live music performances proved a temptation that could not for long be avoided. The touchstone was a "Jazz in the Meadow" event for the Norfolk Lady Taverners charity.
The thrill of putting together three bands of brilliant musicians converted John to become a more committed music promoter.
Music, as a background to something else, is no music. Performing with recorded backing tracks is no performance. Great music is always live. Listen to music in the foreground. Brilliant music, superbly performed by outstanding musicians, and heard without distraction is a recipe for entertainment, inspiration and complete enjoyment. And the great thing about improvised music is its different every time.
Live music is so exciting, you never know what's going to happen