Alexander Bone wins BBC Jazz Award

The first ever BBC Young Musician Jazz Award went to 17-year-old alto-saxophonist Alexander Bone from Darlington

An amiable teenager from Darlington won the inaugural BBC Young Musician Jazz Award at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff tonight (Saturday 8 March).

For alto-saxophonist Alexander Bone, it could be a life-changing triumph, as the award rides on the much-lauded BBC Young Musician contest, a classical music joust, which reached the semi-final stage in the city and holds its finals in Edinburgh in May.

Bone, aged 17, competed against four other musicians. The youngest was 13-year-old altoist Sean Payne and the oldest, at 18, a veteran performer in other respects as well, was another altoist, Londoner Tom Smith.
Bass player Freddie Jensen, aged 14, and trumpeter Jake Labazzi, aged 16 and a member of the NYJO, provided stiff competition.

More than fifty hopefuls sent in DVDs of themselves playing and this was knocked down to 23, who went for audition. From this the five finalists were chosen.

Each finalist performed a twenty-minute set with the Gwilym Simcock Trio (Simcock, bassist Yuri Goloubev and drummer James Maddren) before adjudicators Django Bates, Jason Yarde, Trish Clowes and chairman Julian Joseph decided on the winner. The finalists jammed at the end with announcer Soweto Kinch and the Simcock trio.

Announcing the result, Joseph said all the finalists were virtuosi and at each stage the judges thought they’d heard the winning performance.

Bone, a player and composer of class and personality, was a deserved winner. Finals night was recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio Four on May 23.

Nigel Jarrett

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