Young People are the Future of Jazz

As our 2015 programme draws to a close, J-Night Director David Porter reflects on the importance of our work with young musicians:

The dust has just settled on our November festival which provided development opportunities to young local musicians at the start of their careers.

This is such an important area as we try and build a new jazz picture fit for the 21st century. Anyone who was in the building at the height of the festival couldn’t have failed to be excited by the energy and enthusiasm of the young artists and audiences who packed out Hull Truck.

And what artists! Gary Crosby presented an amazing band including star vocalist Cherise Adams-Burnett, amazing guitarist Shirley Tetteh, stunning saxophonist Camilla George and extraordinary drummer Eddie “Dreadie Eddie” Hick on drums to give a snapshot into the powerful music of the Civil Rights movement.

Next up was a unique event that included young performers from Buckingham Academy, Kelvin Hall School, Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra and University of Hull students, accompanied by members of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. This was the culmination of 4 days of workshops led by Mark Armstrong, Sean Miller, Alison James and Tom Grantham involving 70 young Hull musicians.

I was blown away by the results, along with a packed full house at Hull Truck Theatre.

And there were other highlights too! Jenny Smith, now an accomplished jazz vocalist, assembled a quintet featuring the cream of the Albermarle Alumni. Jazz North Introduces showcased the Royal Northern College of Music’s Artephis, a forward-looking contemporary jazz quintet with an innovative direction through original compositions and arrangements. The Albermarle-based Will King Band provided great foyer music throughout the festival and the Festival jazz brunch was a huge success featuring Leeds based – but Hull made – band Matt Holborn Quartet, with their gypsy jazz sounds.

The two headliners – Andy Sheppard and New York Standards Jazz Quartet – both wowed sell-out audiences – with an increasingly younger audience becoming excited by artists at the top of their game.

J-Night will expand our work with the Hull Music Hub at the Albermarle, schools, the University of Hull and Jazz North as we highlight the talents of young and local artists and audiences for our work. Our partnerships with organisations like Tomorrows Warriors and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra will continue into 2017 as we make sure that we remain relevant to new audiences and new artists alike.

You can see more photographs from our 2015 Winter Edition over on Flickr.