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.


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

  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.

  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.