27th Jun 2007
Wednesday 27 June 2007
Three-parts jazz convention to one part true innovation
Two of the finalists in the inaugural BBC Radio Scotland Young Jazz Musician Award, pianist Tom Gibbs and drummer Doug Hough, were involved with bands in the Homegrown concert, but were heard in more exposed conditions in the competition. I’m no great fan of the plethora of media-driven awards and competitions that have sprung up in jazz and folk, but they are clearly here to stay, and the healthy attendance on Monday night demonstrated that they do have pulling power (although tickets were free).
The judges nominated six finalists, adding pianist Alan Benzie, saxophonists Joseph Wright and Leah Gough-Cooper, and singer Jonathan Carr to the two already mentioned. All of them turned in performances of a high standard with the “house” trio of Brian Kellock, Andrew Sharkey and Alyn Cosker, in an impressive intimation of things to come.
Benzie and Gough-Cooper stood out, and Dave Batchelor, the chairman of the judges, explained that it had come down to the narrowest of margins between them. I confess I felt Gough-Cooper was the most creative and adventurous player on a night when convention rather ruled, but the award went to local boy Benzie, an exceptionally talented 17 year old and a worthy inaugural holder of the title. I expect to hear much more from all of them.