The Man Behind Jazz at Future Inns
Meet the man behind Jazz at Future Inns, the weekly live music event in Bristol. Steven Reid-Williams is the person who books the variety of performers that grace the stage below Chophouse Restuarant at Future Inn Bristol.
I’m standing at the back of the club right now, Jazz at Future Inns, watching Hammond, Hammond and Hopkins perform a blistering set of instrumental funk, soul and jazz. Running this club, and, indeed, living in Bristol, has given me a somewhat distorted view of what constitutes a ‘normal’ standard of musicianship. These guys are unbelievably good. If talent directly correlated with audience sizes then I should be sending people away nearly every week. But of course, living in Bristol, you can see this standard of music almost every night of the week. I believe this has given the music fans of this wonderful city a certain sense of complacency. It is both a blessing and a curse to run a music venue in Bristol. I wouldn’t have it any other way of course. And despite the continual challenge to fill seats and sell tickets in this town, there is a comforting lack of competitiveness between venues in the city. I think we understand that we are all, in our own individual ways, part of something greater than the sum of our parts and certainly greater than our individual ambitions.
For me, my aim has always been to provide jazz fans with the best in local, national and even international jazz acts, for a price that everybody can afford. After all, this music should be for everyone, not just the elite few. But perhaps more than that, I want this to be a place where great musicians can play to enthusiastic audiences and earn the kind of money they deserve to take home. Being a musician myself, I can clearly remember times when things got pretty tough. It almost seems like a rite of passage in this profession, especially for jazz musicians. But I don’t think this needs to be the case. I hate seeing talented musicians struggling to get by. I know that the more people I can get down to the club, the more the musicians can take home, both in appreciation and in cold hard cash. Musicians need both in almost equal measure I think.
So as I stand here, watching this amazing band and the small but appreciative group of music fans enjoying them, I am once again spurred on to take this place to the next level. I dream of seeing people standing on the stairs leading down to the club because there is so little space in here. Even in a city as saturated with great music as Bristol is, I firmly believe this is possible. It will take a little time of course but, whatever happens, you can be guaranteed that every Thursday night, right here at Jazz at Future Inn, you can always find amazing music. That won’t change no matter how many people turn up.
See the Musicians that will be taking to the stage over the following weeks: