Tomorrow’s Warriors is proud to partner with the prestigious Jazz House Kids in the US to offer exclusive opportunities to further our young Warriors’ learning and aspirations in jazz music.
Our annual appeal #IAMWARRIOR has been created to keep our acclaimed Learning Programme £free to support and develop next generation jazz talent, with a focus on black musicians and young women.
The young Warriors who participate in our programme have the chance to access even more incredible opportunities through Tomorrow’s Warriors and our partnership with Jazz House Kids. Thanks to our generous donors, we have been able to continue our partnership with Jazz House Kids this year, albeit virtually.
Every year, we usually send several of our Warrior students to the Jazz House Kids Summer Camp in New Jersey, USA, which includes a performance by the young musicians at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Centre in New York City and a performance at the open air Montclair Jazz Festival. This year, despite the lockdown, we continued the partnership by sending our young Warriors to the JHK four week virtual summer school and, through our partnership and support of generous donors, were able to offer nine of our students scholarships to attend. Feedback from past Warriors has shown that Jazz House Kids can be an inspiring and even life-changing experience.
Over the coming weeks, we will share blogs from our Warriors of some of their experiences with JHK this summer.
Week 1 – Klara Devlin
Hi, my name is Klara, I’m 13 years old, I play the trumpet and I love playing jazz. I have just finished my first week at the online Jazz House Kids Summer School and I would like to tell you how it’s been so far.
So, every morning we start with Jazz & Eggs, that’s when all the participants and teachers meet up. I think there were over 80 of us from over 7 states and 6 countries.
We also watch come videos of different musicians. For example, we listened to the Kenny Barron trio with him playing with Dizzy Gillespie, as well as interviews with Roy Hargrove. We also watched videos of various musicians talk about their religions and how it impacts their playing. This session almost always runs over a bit and we are straight into our daily jazz course.
On Monday we had “Brass Tech” for all the trombone and trumpet players. This is led by Marcus Printup, who until now I had only seen on YouTube and in a couple of weeks, I’m having a private lesson with him, which I’m really looking forward to.
Then we had a masterclass with Christian McBride, which was really cool. For the first half he played some things on the bass and then opened it up to questions.
On Tuesday, after Jazz & Eggs, we had Improvisation class, unfortunately the person who was supposed to take it, Lauren Sevian couldn’t make it but left us a letter on what we are going to be doing. In the lesson we talked about the blues and are going to be working on a Monk blues called Misterioso next time.
Then we had an amazing masterclass with Kenny Barron. He told us some brilliant questions and he was asked many questions. One question I remember was this:
“What advice can you give to young musicians?”
He replied with, “you mean other than practice?”
He told us to practice, listen and play a lot, especially with people who are better than you so that you can learn from them.
On Wednesday we had composition with Helen Sung and it was great. We discussed the different type of blues tunes and for next week we all have to write a blues head.
Then we had a very cool masterclass with Ashley Kahn who talked about the history of blues and how blues is elemental music as it can’t be broken down anymore.
On Thursday we had big band. The day before we all recorded our parts and sent them through. He put them all together and I must admit that we sounded quite messy, but things can and will improve. Recording our parts separately is much harder than playing in the same room together and we are all still getting used to doing things online. For next week we have to record to pieces and send them to him by Sunday.
On Thursday there was the faculty jam. It was really cool to hear them play and it sounded amazing.
Overall, I had a great first week. Some things were amazing and those things that were not so great will get better, they just need a bit more time to get going and adjusting to zoom. I love jazz so doing this for four weeks is just such a treat. This jazz school has also been really interesting to experience jazz in America.
Week 2 – Mia Runham
This week I felt really inspired, especially in the master class on Tuesday because we had Chris Potter. It was really interesting to hear his process and who he was playing with. In Jazz & Eggs we listened to a recording of him playing when he was 14 which was insane, he was soloing like an adult. Then on Thursday we had a lesson on rhythms from different areas of Brazil. Over the past few months I’ve been listening to a lot of Latin Jazz because I like the smoothness of some of the saxophone tones. So, it was nice to listen to some songs that I wouldn’t have looked for and add them to my playlist. On Friday all the Women of JHK came together for Chica Power which I found really empowering and enlightening because it was nice to have a conversation with people that look like you and have had similar experiences. We spoke about how it feels to be the only girl in a group and how sometimes we will change what clothes we wear to fit in with the men in the group. Overall this week has been really inspiring and has made me feel a lot more comfortable being a woman in Jazz and I think I’ve developed a lot in the past week.
Week 3 – Reuben Cookhorn
Monday’s focus for the first session Jazz and Eggs, was the drummer Billy Hart. He has had an interesting career playing with all different jazz players. We began the day watching interviews and recordings by the great drummer. The next session was the bass masterclass in which we focused on methods for learning and memorising structures. It was fun and an interesting session in which I got to lead an exercise to a group of people. By end the day, we got to listen to Billy Hart do a demonstration and answer any questions the people had.
Tuesday morning session began watching videos of various Dizzy Gillespie performances. The second session was an improvisation session with Mike Lee, in which we worked on the differences between diminished chord resolutions. To round off the day we got our weekly performance and conversations with Christian McBride. The days are passing by so quickly and I can’t believe there’s only 1 week left after this.
Wednesday’s session started by continuing the subject of Dizzy Gillespie. The second session of the day was the film composition class in which we worked through the ‘spotting’ homework that we all did. In the last session we had a lesson on Miles Davis from Ashley Kahn. Miles is a proper classic and really enjoy listening and learning about his work.
To finish of this week, the morning session was spent talking about all the different jazz organisations around the globe and their impact on the world of jazz. Certainly, Tomorrow’s Warriors, the organisation that has enabled me to grow and develop as a musician is having enormous impact on the youth jazz scene in London and beyond and I’m proud to be a part of it. The big band session was structured in the same way as last week, we discussed the form and methods for recording our parts. For the final session of the day we had a guest instructor from all different countries and continents discussing their opinions of the world of jazz as it is now. I’m interested to see how the big band recordings will be brought together – it’s been one of the worst things about Covid – not being able to play with other musicians in the usual sense, I do really miss that.
Week 4 Allexa Neva
My 4 Weeks at Jazz House Kids have been amazing! Even if the programme was entirely online, I’ve had an amazing time. Not only I have learned more about music, but it also has helped with expressing myself more and talking more to others. I wish the programme was longer as I think there is so much to still cover in different classes, But I have a learned a lot from it. My last few days were full of final notes on each class and questions about what we learned from those. With Abraham Burton, we talked how our practice routine will change for the future, or in how many ways we can practice scales from now on. I have to accept that practicing scales is kind of boring sometimes, but with all these patterns he has gave us, I am sure that it will help with my practice routine. Mike Lee’s class has been the one with more material to check, audios and music sheets. During the weeks, he has said that he struggles sometimes with technology, but he always gave us new written exercises or new backing tracks each day that he made under 10 minutes while on the Zoom call and that isimpressive. For our last Composition class, we watch every single Final Project, and, in the end, we got the chance to vote for our favourite 4 scores. Some of the films scored were, Back to the future, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jaws and It. I have to say thank you to Mr Perez, because he made the class so interesting and enjoyable. I have never been part of a film scoring class but for this being the first one, he made of it a good introduction to this art.
On our final Big Band Class, we got to see 2 of the 3 songs we recorded and It sounded amazing, MikeLee once again edited everything and made around 20 people fit on a screen with each of them sounding in sync with each other.He mentioned it was more than a 24hour editing process, so it was not easy for him, but that’s why it was important to have in mind the deadlines he gave in the beginning. I had to even record Alto 1 and 2 for one of the tunes, because I had a soprano, so It was kind of fun to rush with the recordings too.
To end this week, we had a wonderful Masterclass with the amazing Jazzmeia Horn, she is one of my favourite singers at the moment, and from the experiences she shared from when she was a student I could see how far she had come and how proud she is of her own self. Ashley Kahn also gave an amazing Masterclass, these past weeks he talked about Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, The Blues and even Aretha Franklin so his last masterclass was enjoyable too. I’d like to thank Tomorrows Warriors for the amazing opportunity and for funding the programme so I could be part of it. I wish I could have participated more in it, to leave an even better image of the organization, but I am also happy for the other Warriors that could get recognised for their amazing work. I wish in the future I could have the opportunity to be part once again of the summer programme and have a super amazing time.