On Monday 13 May, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance hosted an evening of live music to celebrate Tomorrow’s Warriors co-founder Gary Crosby OBE receiving an Honorary Fellowship from Trinity.
Trinity Laban and Tomorrow’s Warriors have had a close relationship for many years, and many musicians who began at Warriors went on to study at Trinity.
In his Q&A with British saxophonist and teacher at Trinity Martin Speake, Gary commented about his relationship with Trinity:
“I knew Simon Purcell [former Head of Jazz] from his Guildhall days, I used to play with him quite a lot. When he came to Trinity Laban it switched something on. I would have loved to have studied here. Trinity Laban has always had an open policy. I love the ethos.”
For the evening there was a specially curated programme of live music featuring an all-star line-up of joint alumni of Tomorrow’s Warriors and Trinity. Led by two-time MOBO Award winner Moses Boyd (drums) and Jazz FM award winner Peter Edwards (piano), they were joined by Jazz FM’s Vocalist of the Year Cherise Adams-Burnett, Kokoroko’s Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet), Axel Kaner-Lidstrom (trumpet), Camilla George (saxophone), Alam Nathoo (saxophone) and Rosie Turton (trombone). Young Warrior Menelik Claffey also stepped in last minute to cover Daniel Casimir on the double bass.
They performed a number of jazz standards that Gary used to encourage them to learn for Warriors’ jams, including Thelonious Monk’s Blue Monk, John Coltrane’s Equinox and Duke Ellington’s Caravan.
A highlight of the evening was the improvised “bass battle”, a common feature of Tomorrow’s Warriors jams. Gary and five other young double bass players took turns soloing over a blues form, frantically swapping the bass between them as they exchanged fours and even twos at the end.
Gary said of the evening: “Tonight feels funky, informal and authentic.”