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A message from Jazz South – June 2021

Jazz South Logo

As we take a pause this summer to evaluate our first 3-year funding period, supported by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence scheme, we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate all that has been achieved so far.

Turner Sims Southampton launched Jazz South in Spring 2018, and since then the programme has reached out to and engaged with many organisations and individuals involved in jazz and improvised music both across the region and beyond. Among the key outcomes have been 20 artists commissioned and over £91,000 invested in new music and talent development through Platform South, Radar, Breakthrough & Spotlight Commissioning schemes. In our broader programme some 290 artists and promoters have been supported with sector development sessions.

We’re hugely grateful to the partners who have worked with us to make the programme what it is, and to principal funders Arts Council England and the University of Southampton for their support.

Whilst the pandemic has had a serious impact on the activities of so many in the sector Jazz South’s reshaped programme over the last year has been able to nurture and support some exciting new collaborations and ways of working and we look forward to announcing our next steps on the website soon. For the moment do explore the commissions that have been created, learn more about some of the region’s artists through podcasts, and playlist features, and read the ‘catching up with’ interviews. They represent a snapshot of the incredible creative energy that is apparent in the jazz and improvised music scene across the south of England.

Kevin Appleby
Strategic Lead, Jazz South

Jazz South Online Fest

Image of 6 artists performing in the Jazz South Online Fest

We are delighted to announce a series of online broadcasts and events taking place from 22 – 30 April, celebrating jazz talent across the South of England.

Jazz South Online Fest will feature filmed and recorded performances showcasing new music by talented composers selected for Jazz South’s Breakthrough and Radar Commissioning schemes, two youth engagement projects with online workshops and gigs, plus a gig at Turner Sims Southampton on International Jazz Day.

Celebrating jazz talent, from emerging to established artists, the week-long festival offers music fans everywhere the opportunity to enjoy inspiring performances, plus workshops and other activities.

Tamsin Mendelsohn, Jazz South Manager said:

“Jazz South Online Fest is a great opportunity to showcase the breadth of jazz talent from the South of England, ranging from composers at the start of their career to those who have made a name for themselves nationally and internationally.

We are delighted to share new work from our Breakthrough Commission artists alongside two new works from Radar Commission artists that we were unable to broadcast last Autumn. Alongside this, two partnership projects with venues and other arts organisations in Dorset and East Sussex are offering local young people inspiration and a chance to participate in jazz projects as well as find out other roles in the music industry.”

View the full programme and details on our Online Fest web page.

Jazz South Breakthrough Commissions – 4 Composers Announced

Breakthrough Commissions - 4 composers announced

We are delighted to announce an exciting and diverse line-up of four early career composers from across the Jazz South region who have been selected for Jazz South Breakthrough Commissions.

Each composer will create a new piece for digital broadcast from a venue in the Jazz South region in early 2021 and will be offered a package of mentoring to support the delivery of the commission.

A panel from the jazz industry, including representation from artists, educators, producers and promoters selected the composers based on innovation, ambition, and the artistic aspiration of each commission. Open to early career composers in jazz and improvisation, there was a strong response to the scheme with proposals for new music. The final selection represents a range of rising talent from across the South.

Kevin Appleby, Strategic Lead for Jazz South said:

“Jazz South Breakthrough Commissions is an opportunity to support early career jazz composers at an exciting stage of their creative and professional development, with what may be their first commission. We are thrilled to work with these talented artists from the South, to support them in realising and profiling their commission concepts to audiences, as well as offering them the opportunity to gain input and widen their networks with mentors from the profession.”

The 4 composers are:

Tim Davies (Oxfordshire)
Drummer, synthesist and recording engineer Tim Davies will create a composition for modular synthesier and jazz ensemble, consisting drums, keys, guitar, bass, and tenor saxophone.

Lucinda Fosker (Berkshire)
“Beautiful voice, her original material is distinctive and stylish” (Sara Colman) – Reading-based jazz vocalist and composer Lucinda Fosker will write new music inspired by the River Thames, telling a musical story of a stretch between Cookham and Henley-on-Thames.

Roella Oloro (Gloucestershire)
Gloucester-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and student of Berklee College of Music, Roella Oloro, will explore the concept of a perfumer mixing a new scent in music.

Asha Parkinson (Kent)
An accomplished saxophonist and arranger, Asha Parkinson will devise an extended piece for large ensemble integrating contemporary jazz and Arabic musical cultures.

The four artists are delighted to begin work on their original compositions. These will be digitally broadcast in early 2021, with more details to be announced later this autumn.

Breakthrough Commissions is part of a wider Jazz South programme offering over £30,000 towards commission projects for artists working in jazz and improvisation in the Jazz South region, outside of London.

Jazz South Radar Commissions – 10 Composers Announced

Jazz South Radar Commissions

We are delighted to announce an exciting and diverse line-up of ten composers from across the Jazz South region who have been selected for Jazz South Radar Commissions.

Each composer will create a new 12-15 minute piece for up to 3 performers. These will be filmed and digitally broadcast in late 2020.

A panel from the jazz industry, including representation from venues, artists, promotion and jazz journalism selected the composers based on innovation, ambition, and the artistic aspiration of each commission. Open to composers in jazz and improvisation of any career stage, there was an extensive response to the scheme with over 50 proposals for new music. The final selection represents a range of established and rising talent from across the South.

Tamsin Mendelsohn, Jazz South Manager, said:
“We created Jazz South Radar Commissions to highlight the stunning jazz composer talent that exists across the south of England outside London. The digital broadcasts enable us to profile their new commissions, as well as regional venues who programme jazz, and we are excited to share all of this with the widest audiences later in the year.”

The 10 composers are:

Olie Brice (E Sussex)
“Imaginative and adventurous” (London Jazz News) – improviser, composer, double bassist and bandleader of the Olie Brice Quintet, Olie will write a new suite for saxophone, trumpet and double bass, featuring Jason Yarde, Nicholas Malcolm and himself.

Josephine Davies (E Sussex)
Winner of the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards ‘Jazz Instrumentalist of the year’, Josephine Davies is a musical artist at the forefront of the UK contemporary music scene. Josephine will write a new piece for an all-female trio, reflecting her tumultuous experiences of the past four months, strongly inspired by living by the sea and incorporating both the peacefulness and intense drama of the elements.

Alexander Hawkins (Oxfordshire)
“One of the most vividly distinctive (voices)…in modern jazz” (The Jazzmann), Oxford based composer, pianist, organist and bandleader Alexander Hawkins will explore new approaches for a ‘classic’ line-up of piano, double bass and drums.

Andrew Hayes (Bristol)
Bristol-based saxophonist and composer Andrew Hayes, alongside his bandmates in Run Logan Run, will write new music inspired by Dartmoor’s rich history of folk legend, reconnecting musicians with their local history and landscape.

Hannah Jacobs (Oxfordshire)
Co-member of Oxford’s exciting jazz, pop and electronics duo Limpet Space Race, Hannah Jacobs will explore live electronics in a jazz format, combining live electronic manipulation using a custom-built modular synth and homemade instrument array, with trombone from Tom Green and vocals and keys from Theo Laird.

John Martin (N Somerset)
“Beautiful and compelling” (Bob Mintzer), Bath-based saxophonist and composer John Martin will write a new piece for double bass, drums and tenor saxophone, building on the new sounds and concepts he’s been working on since the release of his acclaimed second album ‘Hidden Notes – Spirit of Adventure’.

Randolph Matthews (Kent)
Described as “dazzling improvisational skills, flawless and world class” (Chris Philips, Jazz FM), vocalist and composer Randolph Matthews will create a new piece telling untold stories of the lives of black sailors, charting a course in music through the often troubled waters of Britain’s maritime past and exploring the work of black sailors.

John Miles (Hampshire)
“Sophisticated composer” and “powerful saxophonist” (The Guardian), prolific music, theatre, film and television composer, John Miles will write a long form narrative piece, aimed at children, and encompassing spoken word and improvisation.

Robert Mitchell (Surrey)
Award-winning pianist, keyboard player, composer, songwriter, poet and author, Robert Mitchell will combine music and poetry in a tribute to the legendary US politician and civil rights leader John Lewis.

Rebecca Nash (Bristol)
“At the vanguard of innovative and compelling new music” (Downbeat Magazine), Bristol’s Rebecca Nash will develop an exciting collaboration with trumpeter/electronic artist Nick Walters, exploring the concept of leylines, their effect on the natural world around them and how their energy can be incorporated and developed within a musical setting.

The ten artists are delighted to begin work on their original compositions. These will be digitally broadcast in late 2020, with more details to be announced in October.

Radar Commissions is part of a wider Jazz South programme offering over £30,000 towards commission projects for artists working in jazz and improvisation in the Jazz South region, outside of London.

The Cinematic Live Weekender

The Cinematic Live Weekender image

We are delighted to announce The Cinematic Live Weekender, from Thursday 3 – Sunday 6 September, a weekend of live stream broadcasts from some of the South East’s brightest and best jazz musicians, supported by Jazz South.

We are teaming up with Brighton’s New Generation Jazz to present an exciting virtual festival weekend of livestream broadcasts and interative Q&A sessions.

The raw power of Barnacles’ urban take on the drums n’ brass; the heartfelt sincerity of Abi Flynn’s jazz -inflected nu soul, Howe3’s urgent, contemporary gospel funk; and the carnivalesque, genre-crossing theatrics of Mark Edwards’ Cloggz Ensemble will all combine to create a memorable weekend of unforgettable talent.

Each artist will perform a 40-minute set of original material shot in stunning HD quality in a specially created studio in Shoreham’s Ropetackle Arts Centre, and streamed via New Generation Jazz’s Facebook and YouTube live channels.

The artists will be available for a live interactive Q&A session after each performance.

The Cinematic Live Weekender Schedule:

Thursday 3 September, 6pm: Barnacles
Friday 4 September, 6pm: Abi Flynn
Saturday 5 September, 6pm: Howes3
Sunday 6 September, 6pm: Cloggz

Tune in via New Generation Jazz’s Facebook or YouTube channels.

We Are Recruiting – Jazz South Evaluator

We are looking for a brilliant evaluation consultant to work with us on a freelance contract.

Jazz South is a three-year development programme (March 2018-March 2021) being delivered by Turner Sims Southampton, the concert hall and live music-producing organisation at the University of Southampton.

We are seeking an evaluator (or small team) to work with the Jazz South team to look at the extent to which the programme has achieved its objectives and to analyse and document the lessons learned. We will use the evaluation to help determine what happens next and to report back to Arts Council England, which has been supporting the programme with a grant from its Ambition for Excellence fund.

The evaluator of this programme will need to have:

  • Evaluated a substantial project or programme funded by a national Arts Council, Lottery distributor or grant-making trust.
  • Enough knowledge of the jazz sector to make musicians and promoters feel they are speaking with someone who understands their working lives and can discuss it with them.
  • Produced thoroughly researched, clearly written, informative reports from which the stakeholders in the evaluation can learn.
  • Sufficient time to meet the timetable, which is not negotiable.
  • The contact details of two previous evaluation clients with whom we might speak.

For full details on how to apply, download the full brief here.

Please contact Tamsin Mendelsohn for a full application pack and to ask any questions.

The deadline for emailed responses to the brief is 9am on Monday 24 August 2020.

Interviews will take place by video call the week beginning Monday 07 September.

The fee including expenses and VAT is £7,500.

Jazz South Commissions – launched 24 June

We have launched Jazz South Commissions, a new three-part programme offering over £30,000 towards commission projects for composers working in jazz and improvisation in the Jazz South Region.

Jazz South Commissions are about innovation, ambition and artistic aspiration, and aim to support and celebrate the vibrant range of jazz talent in the region.

Platform South Commissions will involve the six bands selected for the first round of Jazz South’s inaugural Platform South scheme.

Two open call initiatives – Jazz South Radar Commissions and Jazz South Breakthrough Commissions – will support 14 jazz composers at different career stages to create new work.

Jazz South Radar Commissions and Jazz South Breakthrough Commissions are now open for online applications from composers and jazz presenters

Details for how to apply to each scheme can be found here

Deadline for submissions – Friday 31 July 2020 at 5pm


Jazz South Presents: International Jazz Day 2020

A celebration of bands and artists in the South – with Spotify Playlist

Words by Sophie Wales

Playlist by Megija Petinena

Foreword: Tamsin Mendelsohn, Jazz South Manager:

‘We are excited to compile this playlist as part of International Jazz Day 2020. Since Jazz South’s inception in 2018, it’s been fantastic to engage with artists ranging from established names in jazz to newer talent from urban and rural areas across the huge region that we cover. This playlist is a snapshot of artists who are based in, have strong or past connections to the Jazz South region – helped by colleagues in the industry who made a number of nominations. Of course this cannot do justice to everyone, so keep an eye out for our ongoing series of playlists. Meanwhile, for this year’s International Jazz Day, we hope you enjoy the selection, be surprised at some of the connections or discover someone new whose music inspires you.’

The region that Jazz South encompasses boasts a plethora of musical talent, with established artists who have made their name internationally, and newly emerging up-and-coming talent. We’ve reached out to members of the jazz community in the South including musicians, venues and promoters to recommend their favourite tunes as well as new discoveries. The playlist of course features our very own Platform South artists, and can be found on Spotify.

When first compiling this project it only seemed natural to turn to established artists with roots or connections to the South, who have made their names nationally and internationally. Andy Sheppard features here with long-time collaborator Carla Bley; Django Bates with recent trio project ‘The Study of Touch’ (2017); Sarah Jane Morris collaborates with Papik on this classic uplifting track; Liane Carrol with her subliminal, effortless vocals, a master of her craft; Iain Ballamy joining forces with peers Ian Shaw and Jamie Safir; Jason Rebello who’s solo piece ‘Blackbird’ creates a perfect interlude to this playlist; Get the Blessing’s ‘Quiet’ brings the playlist towards a close. Saxophonist Jason Yarde is renowned for his ground-breaking music, melding classical, hip-hop, improvisation, R&B, reggae, and soul to name a few –  recognised by the first ever BASCA award for ‘Contemporary Jazz Composition’ in 2010. Olie Brice is a bass player of choice for a number of contemporary bands and on the free improvisation scene – here featuring the driving music of his own quintet. Founding musician and CEO of Edition Records, Dave Stapleton is also central to this list. We include Edition super-band Phronesis (with particular connection to the South through pianist Ivo Neame) and also Dave Stapleton’s own project Slowly Rolling Camera, amalgamating trip-hop and jazz grooves over cinematic soundscapes, featuring Dionne Bennett’s emotive lyrics and dulcet voice.

Also exceptional within the South is the constantly emerging new talent; musicians who are pushing the boundaries of jazz, incorporating experimentation, eclecticism and new flavours, putting their own stamp on the genre. Brighton based collective Yakul, blend Neo Soul grooves over jazz chord progressions. ‘Streetlight’, recommended by Jack Kendon of New Generation Jazz features heavily syncopated rhythms and a drum break down section, building up again into the main theme. Also from the south, Hastings area, Tom Clarkson traverses musical genres with heavy acoustic bass, electronics and vocals. The Ishmael Ensemble is a project of Bristolian multi-instrumentalist and DJ Pete Cunningham. The track ‘Full Circle’ features the entrancing vocals of Holysseus Fly; it feels almost rebellious in its refusal to stick to the status quo and holds nothing back. Mark Cherrie’s Quartet incorporates the angelic voice of Sumudu, with classic jazz melodies and progressions. The unique sound of Cherrie’s steel pans bring an astonishing sense of warmth and colour to the music, an ode to his Caribbean roots. Hippo opens the playlist – not only pushing the boundaries of jazz, but tearing them down. ‘Binary Diet’ epitomises the sound of the trio: electronic, futuristic jazz, with vivacious rhythms and themes.

Rob Luft (photo credit Dave Stapleton).

Guitarist Rob Luft (and Edition artist) has been making his name as BBC New Generation Jazz Artist 2019-2021. With strong links to the South growing up, his music has gained critical acclaim for its vibrancy and innovation. Singer-songwriter Rue from Cornwall is one to watch, bringing a refreshing sound that mixes Neo-Soul, R&B and Jazz. In ‘Peaches’ Rue conveys important messages over uplifting music, with effortless vocals shifting from mid to low ranges with ease. China Bowls also brings sweet melodies throughout, her resonant tone and vocal runs cutting through a laid-back guitar groove. Another emerging talent is Quartet AuB. Put together by young saxophonists Tom Barford and Alex Hitchcock, this grouping has links to the South through drummer James Maddren from West Sussex.

‘Together with bassist Fergus Ireland and drummer James Maddren, AUB melds contemporary Jazz sounds, an adventurous and risk-taking spirit with a degree of unpredictability, nuance and intense improvisation’.

Mike Gavin, Edition Records.

We could not approach this playlist without taking the opportunity to celebrate and shine a light on extraordinary female musicians within the South. In addition to those already mentioned, these include artists such as Kate Westbrook: renowned, accomplished singer-songwriter, known for her vivid lyrics and various projects with long-term partner and collaborator Mike Westbrook, including the most recent: GRANITE. Band leaders such as Rebecca Nash with her originals project ATLAS (supported by Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings) and trumpeter, composer and improviser Laura Jurd with her band Dinosaur are certainly ones to celebrate.

‘I’d been hearing good things about Bristol-based pianist/composer Rebecca Nash for some time and we featured her in Jazzwise just as she was finishing her album Peaceful King with her fantastic Atlas quintet – when the album arrived a few months later I was really impressed with her compositions and the band’s superb performances. The title track is a great example of her work and a band that shows huge promise’.

Mike Flynn, Jazzwise.

Behind these up-and-coming artists are the labels (including Whirlwind and Edition), promoters, clubs and festivals who offer support throughout the region. From this playlist we note Bristol’s Worm Disco Club, Brighton’s New Generation Jazz and Jazz Stroud who create festivals, events and platforms to nurture new talent, support rising bands and collaborations. Based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, this has enabled musicians such as Imogen Dash, Roella Oloro, Alex Howley and Waldo’s Gift to develop, collaborate and create their own musical journeys.

Due to the expanse of jazz that the South has to offer, this is by no means an extensive list. Yet we hope this music inspires and excites you as much as it does for us. Don’t forget to listen to the playlist here, and do get in touch to let us know what you think.

If you like an artist check out their websites – if you can purchase a full album or other merchandise this would be a great support on International Jazz Day 2020 during these challenging times when live performance is restricted, directly effecting artists’ income.

To hear more from Jazz South, you can sign up to our mailing list.









We can support you approach an Arts Council England application

The full criteria have been published for Arts Council’s Emergency Response funding packages for individuals and organisations. All details can be found here.

We would like to offer our support to any artists, creative freelancers or organisations * working in jazz in the Jazz South region with approaching an application.

This would consist of a 30 minute phone or virtual call to talk through the funding criteria, application process and articulating the impact of suspended programmes or lost work on you.

Email the Jazz South team at to arrange a time.

* Outside the National Portfolio of funded organisations