BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018




The five finalists of the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018 have been announced, as have the presenters, backing band and judging panel

Saxophonist and composer YolanDa Brown joins BBC Young Musician regular Josie d’Arby to present coverage of the final, which will be broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday 25 November. This year the final is hosted as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival and will be held at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The event is supported by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and takes place on Saturday 24 November. The five finalists have made it through a rigorous selection process. This year’s successful musicians are Birmingham-based Xhosa Cole (saxophone); Reuben Goldmark (piano, studying at the Royal Academy of Music); Fergus McCreadie from Scotland (piano); James Owston (bass, studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) and Seth Tackaberry, also studying at the Royal Academy of Music (bass). Each finalist will play a set of music that includes at least one piece they have written or arranged themselves.

On the night they will perform with a trio including Paula Gardiner (bass) and Asaf Sirkis (drums) and led by Gwilym Simcock (piano, pictured left), who in the lead-up to the final also provided valuable mentoring to each of the competitors. The finalists will be judged by five leading jazz performers: pianist Monty Alexander; composer and pianist Zoe Rahman; bassist Gary Crosby OBE, founding member of Jazz Warriors; singer Zara McFarlane and saxophonist and composer Iain Ballamy. Past winner Alexandra Ridout will perform at the final and will cheer on the next generation of British jazz musicians. Since the 2016 final, she has performed around the country, has had her music played on various Radio 3 shows and Jazz FM and is now studying at the Royal Academy of Music.

Jan Younghusband, commissioning editor, BBC Music & Events, said: “We’re thrilled that this year BBC Young Jazz Musician will be part of the wider EFG London Jazz Festival. This relationship is all about showcasing the very best of young talent working in jazz at the moment … Like the years previous, we have an incredibly impressive set of finalists here, and I know each will inevitably give it their all on the night of the final itself”.

Claire Whitaker, co-director of the EFG London Jazz Festival said: “We are thrilled to be hosting the BBC Young Jazz Musician final this year. The festival is proud of its reputation as a leader in nurturing and developing new jazz talent through our talent development programmes, as well as showcasing the most talented jazz performers early in their careers. Being chosen to present the BBC Young Jazz Musician final is a terrific new development in our relationship with BBC Music, and we are really looking forward to the final”.

In addition to the television coverage on BBC Four, BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting highlights of the final in J to Z – a weekly programme exploring new sounds with classic recordings and exclusive sessions - on Saturday 1 December. BBC Young Musician and BBC Young Jazz Musician are run and produced by BBC Studios Entertainment & Music Wales.

Bruce Lindsay


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