Anyone who might be apprehensive at the future of jazz in Britain need only listen to last night’s broadcast of the ‘BBC Presents’ stage at this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival on Radio 3 to be reassured that the future looks bright.
The show presents two hours of live sets from earlier this year, and features the emerging talents Trish Clowes, Rachel Musson’s Skein, Saltwater Samurai, and Edinburgh-based The Discordian Trio.
Music ranges from the dextrous sax-playing of Trish Clowes, with her wonderfully agile group (including a cellist) – special mention to drummer James Maddren for his vibrant yet subtle drumming – to the deft, bright-sounding improvisations of Rachel Musson, the elctro-dance-infused Saltwater Samurai from South London, and the free-ranging explorations of The Discordian Trio.
The programme also includes interviews with some of the young players of today, who may well be the stars of tomorrow, if the quality of their music-making is anything to go by. Trish Clowes talks in particular about the benefits of studying at the Royal Academy, including working with luminary of the British saxophone world, Iain Ballamy, and about the challenge of being a working jazz artist. All the groups demonstrate an assurety and confidence in their playing that bodes well.