Jazzlive at the Crypt in Camberwell has not only consistently hosted the world’s best jazz performers since its inception in 1995, but also played an active role in the local community.
I sat down with the club’s founder, Russell Occomore, to talk about the club’s role in the community, focus on diversity, and the wider London jazz scene.
Occomore, has lived in Camberwell for most of his life and comes from a long line of Camberwellians, tracing his ancestors back on his mother’s side to living in the borough in the 1700s.
He said: “Personally, my own driver is that I really feel like this is my community, I really feel like I belong.”
Passion for the music and community culture come first for those, including many volunteers, that work at Jazzlive – an ethos that Russell described as infused by the venue itself.
Occomore added: “The natural state of the Church community is to be volunteering and helpful, so that kind of transferred itself over to how we organise the club.
“That ethos of getting people who were committed and enthusiastic because they loved the task rather than being paid for it.”
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Featured image credit: Sam Montgomery