Thursday 29th April 2010 by C. Freeman
Sixth Former Jay Brown is taking part in a prestigious national jazz competition this weekend in Cheltenham. He and the rest of his band, The Time Team, have reached the national final of the Yamaha Jazz Experience Programme for the Under 17 Category.
They will play two songs; Caravan by Duke Ellington and an improvised blues track in front of a panel of top jazz judges. Jay plays piano alongside six other band members on trombone, trumpet, saxophone, drums, bass and guitar. The competition winners will receive £3,000 for their county music service and the chance to play at iconic jazz venue Ronnie Scotts and two other London jazz clubs.
Jay, who also plays saxophone, said: 'The county is quite renowned for its jazz groups; two groups entered the competition and we are the only group in the county through to the finals. I've been playing jazz for two years; I like its creativity and it rebels against classical music, it's fresh and a bit more interesting.'
He and the band play together every Monday night. They submitted a video of two tracks to the competition before Christmas and found out in March that they made it through to the final at Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
Jay is no stranger to high-profile performing as, when he was eight, he sang 'Ave Maria' with his primary school choir on TV's 'This Morning' with Fern Britton and John Leslie. The choir also had an audience of 5,000 as they sang alongside Russell Watson at the switch-on of the Christmas lights in London's Regent Street!
Jay, who is studying Music, Spanish and English at A Level, would like to have a teaching career and is planning to do a joint Spanish and Music degree, but, for now, he is focusing on this weekend's performance: 'There's three categories with three bands in each with finalists from places like the Guildhall School of Music so we're surprised to have got this far. The judging panel is made up of a jazz piano player, the head broadcaster at Jazz FM and a jazz vocalist as well so the standard will be high and we'll have to meet the mark.'