Congratulations Jason Yarde

No picture necessary! There's already one of Jason Yarde if you scroll down a bit to Fran Hardcastles LJF preview from earlier today. ....Many many congratulations to the thoroughly deserving composer/saxophonist, who was awarded one of the three annual composer awards this evening at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's awards. The PHF sequence of awards to jazz musicians is an impressive roster: Iain Ballamy in 2007, Evan Parker in 2008, Chris Batchelor 2009, and now Jason Yarde. It is a very valuable prize, and in the context of jazz in the UK a very significant award indeed.

There has been one possbly significant change this year: the chairmanship of the judges for the composer awards has switched from Bob Boas to Aldeburgh Festival's Jonathan Reekie, who is more of a mainstream arts figure. I may be mistaken, but I sense a tad less risk.

The mood overhanging the Awards evening was very dark indeed. In a powerful speech, Charlotte Higgins of the Guardian pointed out that Somerset County Council voted this afternoon to withdraw all its funding to the arts; that Bedfordshire is apparently seeking to dispense with its music service. I was also picking up mumblings from more than one source that unless HEFCE - or the institutions themselves acting together - can obviate it, there is a real and present danger - under plans currently being circulated - to the survival as solvent entities of ALL of the UK's music conservatoires.

3 comments:

  1. Jason studied at Middlesex University, where the course was run by Chris Batchelor! So, the baton has been passed from master to pupil....

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  2. The switch in chairmanship to Jonathan Reekie is welcome sigh of relief. Bob Boas is a wealthy former banker with absolutely no artistic credentials other than a series he curates at his own house. Jonathan Reekie is a gutsy presenter and arbiter of quality work, as befits a judge for such a major award.

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  3. Thanks, anonymous.

    You have a good point about Jonathan Reekie, but I don't think people close to this scene would agree with you on the subject of Bob Boas at all.

    Members of the panel whom I have spoken to all bear testimony to the fact that he was a very effective chairman indeed.

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