Peter Bacon reports:
The BBC Young Jazz Musician for 2018 will be chosen from the following: Xhosa Cole, Reuben Goldmark, Fergus McCreadie, James Owston and Seth Tackaberry. The final will be held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Saturday 24 November as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. It will be broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday 25 November.
Each finalist will be playing a set of music that includes at least one piece they have written or arranged themselves. They will perform with Paula Gardiner (bass), Asaf Sirkis (drums) and Gwilym Simcock (piano), who in the lead-up to the final also provided valuable mentoring to each of the competitors.
Here are potted biogs of the finalists, and links to our coverage of them:
Xhosa Cole (saxophone)
Handsworth-born Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous community arts programmes, including the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra and Jazzlines Ensemble. Having first played the tenor at Andy Hamilton’s Ladywood Community Music School, he’s among a long legacy of Birmingham saxophonists. With help from mentors including Sid Peacock, Mike Williams, Jim Bashford and David Austin-Grey, Xhosa now regularly performs, writes and teaches around Birmingham. LINK: Mentions on LJN
Reuben Goldmark (piano)
After brief flirtations with the violin and with opera, Reuben gained a place at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, where he was encouraged to improvise and compose and collaborate with both students and professional musicians. Reuben is now studying as a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, and has for the last three years worked with the National Youth Jazz Collective.
Fergus McCreadie (piano)
Hailing from Dollar, Clackmannanshire, Fergus has played with the likes of the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra and National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, before going on to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. Since graduation, he has led his own piano trio, whose debut album Turas was widely acclaimed. LINKS: Interview/ Mentions on LJN
James Owston (bass)
From the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, James has played bass guitar since school and is currently in his fourth year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. In January 2018, James began playing with the new Clark Tracey Quintet, alongside a number of former BBC Young Jazz Musician finalists, who have just released their debut recording No Doubt. LINK: Mentions on LJN
Seth Tackaberry (bass)
Initially inspired to pick up the bass by The Beatles, Seth has played in rock bands for some years before starting in jazz at the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Jazz course. Seth studied there for four years, and is now in his second year at the Royal Academy of Music. He has attended the National Youth Jazz Collective summer school, and has been a member of NYJO Academy Big Band. LINK: Mentions on LJN
The judges for the final are: pianist Monty Alexander, composer and pianist Zoe Rahman, bassist Gary Crosby, founding member of Jazz Warriors, singer Zara McFarlane and saxophonist and composer Iain Ballamy.
Past winner Alexandra Ridout will also be present to perform and cheer on the next generation of British jazz musicians.
In addition to the television coverage on BBC Four, BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting highlights of the Final in J to Z on Saturday 1 December.