Left to Right: Nick Smart, Gareth Lockrane (Head of the Royal Academy’s Junior Jazz Department),
Mike Walker, Simon Colam
This fifth annual Royal Academy of Music Junior Jazz end-of-year gig at Ronnie Scott’s was the first under new Head of Junior Jazz Gareth Lockrane. I had the pleasure of dropping to hear the next generation of working jazz musicians, currently starting from the tender age of 13 showcase their impressive talents through music from Mike Walker and Iain Ballamy and well-known standards. The students’ impressively assured ensemble performances, coached by Lockrane and Simon Colam showcased a few stars in the making.
Previous Junior Jazz Course graduates have included Kit Downes, Josh Blackmore of Curios, Dave Hamblett, Freddie Gavita and busy bassist Tim Thornton.
The only Junior course which is dedicated solely to jazz has a near 100 per cent success rate in placing students in conservatoire jazz courses. The kids travel from as far as Bristol and Lincolnshire and bursaries and scholarships are available. Visiting musicians have included Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman. The efforts of Lockrane and Colam with the support of former head of the Junior Department, (and now the Royal Academy’s Head of Jazz) Nick Smart resulted in a rewarding gig on Sunday. Keep an eye out for next year’s gig if you’re into star-spotting.