Martyna Wren writes about her recent tour which comes to a close at a lunch-time concert on the 16th November at Pizza Express Jazz Club (link to tickets at the bottom). Part of the EFG London Jazz Festival:
I am a jazz singer-songwriter and a patron of The Notivate Trust which does wonderful work using music and song-writing to build self-esteem in young people. Together we have recently embarked on a schools tour across 16 primary schools around Northants. At each school we give a whole school assembly about jazz music and its relevance today and also encourage the children to discover music outside of the mainstream. Joining me at the assemblies are pianist and arranger John Bowman and my cellist and vibraphone players mentioned below. We then work with a group of around 30 children where they write and perform a song from a selection of different jazz styles (we also turn them into a human drum kit to help explain the different rhythms like swing and bossa nova).
The tour started in the middle of September and runs until the end of November. We have already had wonderful feedback and some lovely letters from pupils saying that they have started jazz bands with their friends and are continuing to song-write. My favourite quote was from a 9 year old girl who said ‘I had never heard of jazz before today but this has been my best day at school ever and I’m now a real bad jazz fan’.
We also put on 2 concerts in our area with all under 18’s able to attend for free. Along with pianist John Bowman, my band includes Reuben Fowler (winner of the Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize) and Loz Garratt (Jamie Cullum’s current bass player), as well as Vibes (Ben Lewis), Cello (Gudny Jonasdottir) and Drums (Mike Clowes) who are all graduates from the Royal Academy of Music.
To mark the end of the tour we will be appearing at Pizza Express Dean St on Saturday 16th November as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival and then the following week at The Stables, Stage 2, Milton Keynes. Our concert at the jazz festival will take place at lunchtime as we have a lot of families that like to attend, which is something that we want to encourage. The gig will include my full band although Loz is no longer able to make this gig as listed as he will be on tour with Jamie and has had to dep this one out, in his place we have Paul Michael.
Pizza Express tickets HERE
The Stables Tickets HERE
Martyna, John and the band performed the most fantastic jazz assembly, motivated the children and taught the influence of jazz on today's musicians.
One of my students comment that “he hadn't liked music until Martyna's performance!”
Martyna and her band performed an amazing jazz assembly to the whole school. Four to eleven year olds were all captivated by her performance.
The 'workshop' afterwards was brilliant. Martyna and her band taught the children how to create a jazz song and they came up with a lovely blues performance in the space of an hour using all of the children's ideas. Superb!
Martyna and the band came to Pattishall Primary School at the start of this week and the pupils and staff are still talking about it. Here are a few of the children's comments that we are sending to the band – ” The music made me feel safe, happy and relaxed.” “Martyna's voice is beautiful and so inspiring.” “I can't believe you came to our school but I'm really glad you did!”
Martyna, John, Tom and Ben gave a fantastic performance for all the children at Rowan Gate primary school and an inspiring workshop for a small number of pupils. The performance gave the pupils an introduction to jazz and they were all engaged with the music. The combination of instruments and arrangements gave it a unique sound that we all enjoyed and great for the children to experience the live sound of the cello and vibraphone.
The workshop was great as the band all related well to the children and even those who were usually reluctant to perform were up singing in the microphone -everyone contributed to the song. Martyna has an amazing voice and the songs are very accessible and we hope they’ll all come back and perform again.