What an incredible year we had in 2019! Across the year we received support that has allowed us to continue to make a difference to talented jazz artists and grow the diversity of the jazz community, from grassroots, emerging to professional careers. With thanks to our funding partners Arts Council England, PRS Foundation, Steve Reid Foundation and Ronnie Scotts Charitable Foundation and to the immense generosity of all the wonderful individuals who donated their cash, instruments, time or expertise to Tomorrow’s Warriors. THANK YOU! #YOUAREWARRIOR !!!
Here are just twelve of the many highlights throughout 2019:
JANUARY: #IAMWARRIOR AT JAZZ CAFE
We sold out our first #IAmWarrior gig at Camden’s Jazz Cafe, birthplace of Tomorrow’s Warriors. With support from PRS Foundation’s Open Fund we commissioned new works by our alumni Zara McFarlane, Soweto Kinch, Binker Golding, Cassie Kinoshi, Shirley Tetteh, Mark Crown and Peter Edwards. These were performed by our Soon Come Ensemble, directed by Binker Golding and featuring young stars of the future who are on our Young Artist Development Programme.
FEBRUARY: NU CIVILISATION ORCHESTRA SELLS OUT RONNIE SCOTT’S
Our Nu Civilisation Orchestra under musical director, Peter Edwards sold out two shows at Ronnie Scott’s famed jazz club in Soho performing repertoire from the legendary 70’s jazz label CTI. It received a great write-up in Jazzwise: “NCO HIT BULLSEYE WITH CTI AT RONNIE SCOTT’S”.
MARCH: TW SELECTED AS PRS FOUNDATION TALENT DEVELOPMENT PARTNER
We were one of just 45 organisations who were selected to be part of the PRS Foundation network of Talent Development Partners. The funding we received allowed us to support up to 20 advanced young jazz musicians on our Young Artist Development Programme, and to commission new works from our jet-setting alumni to be performed by our young musicians.
APRIL: WARRIORS BAG GONGS AT THE JAZZ FM AWARDS
Tomorrow’s Warriors was nominated for the Jazz FM Innovation Award. Although we didn’t win, we went home very proud to see our alumni win big that night. 63% of the nominees in British jazz categories were Warriors, or in bands made up predominantly of Warriors, and 6 of the total 13 awards went to Warriors alumni. As one write-up of the awards noted, “The loudest cheer of the night by a country mile was reserved for Janine Irons and Gary Crosby, the couple behind Tomorrow’s Warriors, the development agency, producer, music educator and consultancy which – for almost three decades – has helped nurture aspiring young jazz artists in their early careers.”
MAY: STEVE WILLIAMSON EXPERIENCE TOUR
We presented the incendiary Steve Williamson Experience with the legendary saxophonist working with Tomorrow’s Warriors’ emerging artists Hamish Moore, Zoe Pascal and StringTing. They went on a seven-date tour across England, and their premiere at Purcell Room in London received a four-star review in the Financial Times.
JUNE: FESTIVAL SEASON STARS
Festival season began in earnest in June and we had our young musicians performing at Cross the Tracks Festival and Great Exhibition Road Festival. We also had acts performing at Love Supreme, Brainchild, Wilderness Festival and We Out Here Festival later in the year.
JULY: GARY CROSBY AWARDED THE QUEEN’S MEDAL FOR MUSIC
TW co-founder and Artistic Director, Gary Crosby was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Medal for Music at a private Audience with HM The Queen on 10 July, becoming the first ever jazz musician and the first individual of colour to receive the honour. Chair of the award committee and Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir said of the decision: “Looking around the UK’s currently thriving jazz scene, the name of Gary Crosby is constantly cited as the person who has encouraged a whole generation to look again at jazz and become involved.”
AUGUST: NU CIVILISATION ORCHESTRA BBC PROMS TELEVISED
The Nu Civilisation Orchestra performed Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts to a sold-out audience at Royal Albert Hall alongside the BBC Singers, UK Vocal Assembly and special guests including vocalist Carleen Anderson, tap dancer Annette Walker and legendary Jamaican jazz pianist, Monty Alexander. It was broadcast live on BBC Radio and the whole concert was televised on BBC Four.
SEPTEMBER: #IAMWARRIOR RAISES £120K
Having launched our #IAmWarrior Appeal in November 2018 to raise £100,000 to keep our programme at Southbank Centre running and free to participants, we were completely overwhelmed with support. You donated £119,743, and we were also able to receive the full £100,000 in Arts Council matched funding. This means that we were able to keep our Young Artist Development Programme going throughout 2019, continuing the important work we do with talented young musicians. THANK YOU!!!
OCTOBER: THE REGGAE TICKET LAUNCHED WITH JAZZ JAMAICA ALL STARS
Launched during October’s Black History Month, The Reggae Ticket is a year-long education and heritage project. We’re working with young people across the country teaching the music and legacy of the legendary record label Trojan Records. The Reggae Ticket runs alongside the Jazz Jamaica All Stars seven date tour of The Trojan Story, featuring Gary Crosby, Brinsley Ford, Noel McKoy and rising stars Dem Three. It kicked off in Birmingham in October, followed by Bristol in January, followed by Liverpool, Manchester, Gateshead, Edinburgh, ending in London’s Royal Festival Hall this October.
NOVEMBER: WE PRESENTED 19 BANDS OVER LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL
Over the London Jazz Festival we had 19 bands performing on 14 separate shows. These included free showcases at Barbican Centre and Royal Albert Docks before Herbie Hancock and Steamdown, as well as an epic performance with the BBC Concert Orchestra and an expanded Nu Civilisation Orchestra, with well over 100 musicians on stage performing Symphonic Ellington.
DECEMBER: TWO WINTER SHOWCASES
For the first time we had to have two winter showcases because we had so many brilliant young musicians to showcase and so much music to get through. Our first one was at Union Chapel with Daylight Music. We had Loucin Moskofian, David Ijishakin, Junior Band and we premiered the recently reformed Tomorrow’s Warriors Soon Come Big Band. Then, to finish off the year (and indeed the decade) we had a showcase at Pop Brixton with Tomorrow’s Warriors Sextet, TW Female Frontline, and it all finished with a great jam.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
From all of us at Tomorrow’s Warriors to all of you who who have supported our young musicians and projects in 2019, we thank you for your support and wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’re excited about starting a new decade and look forward gathering more support to allow us bring forth even more extraordinary young talent and spreading the joy of music through even more extraordinary creative music projects in 2020!