Sebastian’s regular “London Column” in the German magazine JAZZTHETIK for May/June (*) is a brief profile of Pat Pascal, marking the fifth anniversary of jazznewblood.
It takes a very special person to be effective in preparing young musicians for the precarious, fickle and tough music industry, and adoptive Londoner Patricia (Pat) Pascal has exactly the right track record and credentials. She and bassist husband Theo originally started working with Carmen Souza in Lisbon when the singer was just a teenager; they have now been managing her career for twenty years. The Pascals moved with their young children to London in 2007. In Pat’s words: “I fell in love with the scene here; there is just so much more going on than in Lisbon.”
Five years ago, Pat started an interesting venture called jazznewblood. What is it? “It’s a platform to promote and nurture young musicians while they are starting out, to kickstart their careers and help them get on the scene.” And how did it start? Pat had a personal connection with the jazz world, through accompanying her own children to music sessions, with Tomorrow’s Warriors for example. “I felt like the market wasn’t giving the young ones a lot of opportunity to show what they had.” So she started organising live events, providing young artists with the tools to promote themselves, such as professional photos and audio recordings, and teaching them to be self-reliant. “I was getting them booked into places, like Ronnie Scott’s, that they couldn’t actually enter because of their age.” The results are impressive. Her first showcase in 2016 as part of the London Jazz Festival had a line-up of artists that have certainly gone on to great things: Cassie Kinoshi’s SEED Ensemble, Mark Kavuma, Kokoroko, Alex and Tom Ridout and Trio Zeñel. A more recent jazznewblood event featured the debut in of much talked-about singer/bassist from Barbados, Isobella Burnham.
For the five-year anniversary there is a playlist of recordings by artists from the most recent showcase. And jazznewblood is not standing still. It is being formed into a community interest company, and for the first time she is looking at increasing the scale through grants. And what about the risks…surely young musicians can sometimes be unpredictable? Here Pat Pascal has only good news: “I have never had a situation where a young musician did not act responsibly. Give them the experience, give them responsibility and they never let you down.”
(*)LINK: The German version of this column