Making the Scene: Vancouver's Cellar Club and Other Co-operative Jazz Clubs in Canada 1955–1964
Jago, Marian Sarah
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Between 1955 and 1964, co-operative jazz clubs were formed in several Canadian cities. Operated by the artists themselves, these co-operative ventures —the Cellar in Vancouver, the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, the Foggy Manor in Calgary, and 777 Barrington Street in Halifax—provided unique and necessary performance spaces for Canadian jazz musicians, and became pivotal sites for the development of jazz in Canada following World War Two. Using the methodological tools offered by the scenes perspective, this dissertation examines the socio-cultural factors which necessitated the pursuit of jazz through such co-operative means, the ways in which the scenes that developed around these clubs were structured, the operating processes of the clubs themselves, and the varying factors which led to their eventual decline. The bulk of this study deals with Vancouver and its Cellar co-operative, a weighting based upon several factors including the amount of available evidence, its intersection with Vancouver’s arts community, and its unique relationship with jazz scenes on the American West Coast. The examinations of jazz co-operatives in Edmonton, Calgary, and Halifax, suffer from a comparative lack of surviving evidence, and are consequently less detailed. The development of the domestic Canadian jazz industry can be seen to owe a significant debt to the early organizational efforts of these co-operative clubs. Though most of the musicians involved did not achieve lasting fame, they made significant and lasting contributions to jazz in Canada across a variety of platforms. These co-operative jazz clubs created strongholds for jazz in Canada beyond the major urban centres of Toronto and Montreal, providing widespread cultural traction for jazz in this country.