No picture necessary! There’s already one of Jason Yarde if you scroll down a bit to Fran Hardcastles LJF preview from earlier today. ….Many many congratulations to the thoroughly deserving composer/saxophonist, who was awarded one of the three annual composer awards this evening at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s awards. The PHF sequence of awards to jazz musicians is an impressive roster: Iain Ballamy in 2007, Evan Parker in 2008, Chris Batchelor 2009, and now Jason Yarde. It is a very valuable prize, and in the context of jazz in the UK a very significant award indeed.
There has been one possbly significant change this year: the chairmanship of the judges for the composer awards has switched from Bob Boas to Aldeburgh Festival’s Jonathan Reekie, who is more of a mainstream arts figure. I may be mistaken, but I sense a tad less risk.
The mood overhanging the Awards evening was very dark indeed. In a powerful speech, Charlotte Higgins of the Guardian pointed out that Somerset County Council voted this afternoon to withdraw all its funding to the arts; that Bedfordshire is apparently seeking to dispense with its music service. I was also picking up mumblings from more than one source that unless HEFCE – or the institutions themselves acting together – can obviate it, there is a real and present danger – under plans currently being circulated – to the survival as solvent entities of ALL of the UK’s music conservatoires.