‘This year the jazz department has welcomed many international jazz stars to perform their music with us. These include Laurence Cottle, who’s technically demanding music provided an exciting evening of jazz and funk. In March, Purcell jazz tutors Kit Downes and Chris Montague took the students through the interweaving, compound time signature themes of their award winning group Troyka, and in the summer term the Purcell jazz students will be working with the acclaimed composer Colin Towns. Colin will be coming in to the Purcell School to conduct workshops in improvisation and composition (to include the school’s composition students), encouraging the students to write their own arrangements of his music. The concert will feature (among other special guests) star percussionist Paul Clarvis, and saxophone legend Alan Skidmore.
The most significant achievement of our students this year has been the landslide success in Conservatoire auditions. Every student has been offered places at the major music colleges, notably causing the Head of Jazz at the Guildhall to create a ‘fast track’ undergraduate scheme, as our students were deemed ‘too advanced’ to begin the degree in the first year! A fantastic achievement for these brilliant young musicians.
We are also looking forward to the first Purcell jazz department ‘gig’ at London’s famous 606 Jazz Club on the 7th May. This lunchtime performance will feature student ensembles playing their own arrangements and compositions. Simon Allen, Head of Jazz, has been touring the UK in April and May with his own band, featuring selected Purcell jazz students. Currently half way through our 7 gigs together, this has proven to be a very exciting experience for the students, jazz audiences have been given a taste of what talent is looming within jazz education.’