EMERGING TALENT ‘JAZZ FUTURES’ SHOWCASE
Brecon Jazz Club (BJC), as one of the founder members of the Brecon Jazz (CIO), has a mission to extend employment and performance opportunities for emerging musicians. This includes booking students and graduates of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama ‘Jazz Performance’ degree, with whom BJC has strong links. There is demand from local & festival audiences as well as musicians to extend these opportunities.
Brecon Jazz Futures (JF) is an initiative developed in 2015 by musician/educator Marc Edwards, encouraged and supported by the then Friends of Brecon Jazz Committee and Theatr Brycheiniog (TB), and with grant aid from the National Parks Authority (BBNP / SDF funding). In 2016 Marc was able to programme 10 younger/emerging bands out of prestiguos specialist from Jazz degree courses in Manchester, London and Edinburgh in that year’s Jazz Festival. Audience feedback showed support for the outcomes, and warm reviews encouraged the planning of future platforms for the new-style ‘Futures’ showcases. However TB were not in a position to continue their involvement and support as part of the Jazz Festival going forward in 2017/18 – see.
As partners in the Festival, we have followed this by creating a number of EMERGING TALENT ‘JAZZ FUTURES’ SHOWCASE events in Brecon as part of both ‘year-round’ and ‘festival’ jazz programming. In this initiative, the partners link the ‘club’ and the ‘festival’, the ‘year round’ and the local – to the the ‘jazz weekend’ and national audience, and collaborate as promoters to select and offer unique performance opportunities which would not otherwise exist.
This initiative has led to THREE specific events in 2018:-
– Brecon jazz ‘July’ club event: a showcase of new compositions and music from THREE bands trained in Wales (RWCMD).
– Brecon jazz ‘August’ festival weekend: during the Saturday programme of TWO bands featuring emerging jazz musicians – many of whom have already won national jazz awards – as concert highlights.
In covering the months of July and August, we address the issue that in attempting to spotlight jazz students and younger talents, many are not necessarily available in Wales for bookings during the summer; they may be playing at Festivals elsewhere. This understanding arises from close links with RWCMD and discussions with the students, staff and graduate musicians there.
It is also recognised, going forward, not only that younger musicians are exploring and composing new works which deserve to be ‘showcased’, but that audience expectations need to be encouraged to evolve and grow, in the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the new sounds and the different emotional impacts of fresh structures and styles.
This may be highlighted through bands’ deployment of new and adventurous instrumental line-ups. In addition, contemporary sounds that have long been emerging from the world of wider musical technologies are enriching powers of musical expression. New resources are being appropriated by creative people to explore jazz and other genres. The fluency and use of skills to enhance musical expression in this way is becoming inexorably sophisticated, better and less intrusive, as the familiarity with the technology is absorbed by highly musical, ‘digital natives’, using new techniques to supplement what their traditional instruments are capable of doing.