Bassist and artistic director, Gary Crosby OBE was celebrating yet another success on Bank Holiday Monday as his talented young protégés, Tomorrow’s Warriors again won first prize in the 11 and under 19 category of the Yamaha Jazz Experience ‘Jazz Ensemble Improvisation’ Competition. The competition took place on the Montpellier Gardens Free Stage during this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival. It was the second time the competition has run, and both times Crosby’s Warriors have won the award in this category (Tomorrow’s Warriors Biggish Band picked up the award in 2010).
To roars of approval by the packed audience, and under Crosby’s watchful eye, the Tomorrow’s Warriors ensemble comprising of Dylan Jones (trumpet), David Turay (alto sax), James Mollison (tenor sax), Charlie Stacey (piano), Florence Moore (double bass), and Femi Koleoso (drums) set the stage alight when they performed their set of three compositions including Roy Hargrove’s ‘Strasbourg/St Denis’, the popular jazz standard ‘Body And Soul’ (Green, Heyman, Sour, Eyton), and Herbie Hancock’s ‘Eye Of The Hurricane’. The other two competition finalists were FYJO Septet (from the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra), and Wells Cathedral School Jazz Combo.
The distinguished judging panel of Julian Joseph, Issie Barratt, Gwilym Simcock, and bass legend Peter Ind were looking for creativity, musicality and communication with both the audience and between band members.
The first prize, presented by Bill C. Martin, Music Education Manager at Yamaha Music Europe GmbH (UK) includes a prestigious gig at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho, London, and a £1,000 Yamaha certificate. He said: “Tomorrow’s Warriors gave such a strong, soulful and accomplished performance and much deserved to win the under-19 category.”
Said a delighted Crosby: “I was so proud of them. They were stunning, absolutely beautiful. There is so much potential in this group, and all their hard work has paid off. The world needs to hear this outstanding young band.”
The next major event in the calendar is Saturday 14 July when Tomorrow’s Warriors Youth Jazz Orchestra appears in the Essentially Ellington Big Band programme as part of the Jazz At Lincoln residency at Barbican Centre, London.