Jazz is an established and flourishing department. Renowned within and outside the School, it comprises an inspirational team of experienced teachers and performers who are uniquely placed to oversee the development of creative musicians.
Ensemble provision is an important part of the Jazz programme. As well as the School’s senior and junior improvisation groups, students can participate in ad hoc ensemble-based groupings and become part of The Purcell School’s celebrated Big Band. The Big Band gives non-jazz specialists a chance to perform alongside first study jazz players, and has provided students with the opportunity to work with eminent jazz players such as Laurence Cottle, Alan Skidmore, Tom Cawley and Colin Towns. Jazz students will also be given the opportunity to play in some of London’s most renowned Jazz venues, including Pizza Express Dean Street and the 606 Club.
The department is a great gateway into studying jazz at conservatoire level, and students from the Jazz department regularly achieve considerable success. In 2016, for example, first study jazz trumpeter Alexandra Ridout won the prestigious BBC Young Musician Jazz Award, and jazz students are often sought after as members of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) and the National Youth Jazz Collective (NYJC). Recent graduates of the department include the multiple Grammy Award winning jazz pianist Jacob Collier, Kit Downes, Jake Labazzi and Seth Tackaberry.